What’s Happening In Sri Lanka — The Protestors Strike Back

The government got violent and got violence in return

8 min readMay 10, 2022


Photos stitched from Thilina Kaluthotage, before and after Mahinda tried to smash us up

GotaGoGama was, and is, a village. Gama means village and Gota Go! means that the President—Gotabaya Rajapaksa—should get the fuck out. People have been occupying the ‘agitation site’ outside his office for over a month. It’s been a cool, weird, anarchic space. I went there with my kids. My rodents were waving flags and blowing vuvuzelas with the encamped protestors like so many other ordinary Sri Lankans.

Omalpe Sobhitha Thera joining ‘Gota-Go-Gama’ protestors

Last week, however, they started teargassing protesters near Parliament, including families and kids, not that anyone deserves to be gassed. The ruling class is being told to clear itself, but they tried to clear the streets.

Then the Prime Minister—Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gota’s brother—got the galaxy brain idea to pull a Trumpist coup on the people’s parliament. He rallied a small army of counter-protests and marched them to smash GotaGoGama, while he sat and watched on TV.

Via Jamila Husain, Daily Mirror

Temple Trees (the Prime Ministers residence/office) can hold 5,000 people, and it seemed full. Mahinda assembled a small army and marched on the village of GotaGoGama.

Smash. Grab. Burn.

Mahinda’s mob assaulting a priest near Temple Trees (via Colombo Gazette)

GotaGoGama is not defended per se, and it’s thinly occupied during the day. The Mahinda mob was able to smash, grab, burn, beat, and destroy, all while the cops looked on. It was a tactically coherent plan, assemble a mob of citizens—bribed with cash and a square meal for the first time in weeks—and incite them to violence. They could get violent where the cops could not. Then silence, theoretically. And it actually worked for a minute, they cleared a square kilometer of land. But then they lost the whole country.




Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.