Sri Lankans watch a bus on fire during a protest outside the President's private residence on the outskirts of Colombo, on April 1, 2022.

Sri Lanka is in an economic crisis. Here's what it's like for people on the ground

Updated 2:09 AM ET, Sun April 3, 2022

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN)For three straight nights last week, Upul took to the streets of Sri Lanka's capital city holding a candle or a placard as he protested the country's worst economic crisis in decades.

Like his neighbors, he was frustrated by the more than 10-hour power cuts that plunged Colombo into darkness, and a shortage of gas to cook with that made it hard for his family to eat.
Then on Thursday -- the fourth night -- the protest turned violent.
Furious demonstrators hurled bricks and started fires outside Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's private residence, as police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the protests.
"People were visibly angry, shouting," said Upul, who asked only to be referred to by his last name for fear of repercussions. "Earlier (in the week) they demanded the President to step down, (on Thursday) they were yelling and calling him names."