Dozens injured as Sri Lankan parliament erupts into indoor brawl

Sri Lankan MPs brawled on the floor of parliament, putting one in hospital, in the latest escalation of the political turmoil that has left the country without an agreed prime minister or cabinet.

The session on Thursday morning (November 15) was abandoned after supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the disputed prime minister, rushed at the parliament’s speaker, Karu Jayasuriya.

Jayasuriya was defended by MPs loyal to Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was dismissed from the prime ministership a fortnight ago and replaced with Rajapaksa, in what Wickremesinghe’s supporters say was a political coup.

The men, most dressed in white cotton robes, pushed and jostled each other. Some could be seen throwing punches and one MP hurled a wastepaper basket in the speaker’s direction.

Dilum Amunugama, a Rajapaksa loyalist, was cut as he tried to take the speaker’s microphone, bloodying his shirt, and was later admitted to hospital.

The speaker, Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe all eventually left the chamber as the fighting continued on the house floor.