Colombo, Sri Lanka – millions of people demanding “total system change” have rallied in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his powerful brothers to quit politics amid a deepening economic crisis.

At the Galle Face Green on Colombo’s waterfront on Saturday, students, teachers, lawyers, actors and architects – many of whom said they were protesting for the first time – chanted “madman Gota” and “Go home Gota”, referring to the president’s nickname, as they gathered under a blistering sun.

They waved the Sri Lankan flag and held up hand-written placards in Sinhalese and English that carried messages such as “No more corrupted politicians” and “Save Sri Lanka from the Rajapaksa family #gohomegota2022#