On Thursday MPs moved another resolution against Rajapakse, this time to reject his call for snap elections. That vote could not go ahead after parliament descended into chaos, as punches and projectiles flew.
Rajapakse himself stayed away from the rioting and walked out of the chamber after the no-trust motion was passed against him.
A Rajapakse loyalist was seen throwing chilli powder at rival legislators and police. Several constables and legislators were taken to the parliament’s medical centre for first aid.
Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, a legislator from ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s party, said he was among those treated after chilli mixed with water was thrown at his face.
Leftist lawmaker Vijitha Herath said he suffered a forehead injury when a rival hit him with a hard-cover copy of the constitution that was on the speaker’s table.
“I was also attacked with chilli water,” Herath said. “Usually, chilli powder or water is the favourite weapon of bank robbers and gangsters.”
Another legislator Anura Kumara Dissanayake said he saw a Rajapakse supporter assaulting a parliament employee who had been guarding the speaker’s chamber.
“It was disgusting to see the behaviour of these MPs,” Dissanayake said. “They were going to great lengths to prevent today’s vote, but they did not succeed.”
Rajapakse’s spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella denied they attacked police or staff, but blamed the speaker for the chaos.
“He (the speaker) need not have rushed the vote,” Rambukwella told reporters in parliament after sittings were adjourned until Monday.