Sri Lankan police have been ordered to go on the offensive and use live ammunition to stop rioting

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s economy will “collapse” unless a new government is urgently appointed, the central bank chief warned Wednesday, as security forces fanned out on the streets to restore order after spasms of mob violence.

Police say nine people have died since Monday, when frustration at a dire economic crisis erupted into clashes between backers and opponents of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, injuring more than 200.

Opposition parties have refused Rajapaksa’s overtures for a unity government to resolve a political deadlock and instead demanded his resignation.

There have been violent scenes in Sri Lanka, with mobs targeting the homes of prominent political figures including the ruling Rajapaksa family.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has resigned over the government’s handling of the island nation’s worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. However, his brother is refusing to step down as president.

Why have people taken to the streets?

Protests over rising prices and shortages flared up in early April in the capital, Colombo, and have grown in size and spread across the country.

People are furious because the cost of living has become unaffordable.

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Why are the Rajapaksa family targets?

Protestors attempted to storm the prime minister’s official residence while Mahinda Rajapaksa was inside, and have attacked Rajapaksa family houses elsewhere in Sri Lanka.

The family has played a prominent role in Sri Lankan politics for years, occupying top positions in various administrations.