Sri Lankan police fired live ammunition and tear gas to scatter protesters on Tuesday, killing at least one person and injuring a dozen more in the central town of Rambukka.
It’s the first fatality since the largely peaceful protests began weeks ago.
Tuesday’s clashes broke out when officers tried to clear demonstrators away from a key railway line they had blocked for hours, according to the police.
Protests have flared up across the country since last month, voicing anger at the government’s mishandling of the economy, which has led to shortages of essentials and long power cuts.
Demonstrators continued to flood the streets of the capital Colombo on Tuesday.
“We have no electricity, we don’t have gas, the price of rice has skyrocketed. We can't make ends meet, so we have no choice but to go out on the streets. We took to the streets to throw this government out.”
Tuesday’s death came while Sri Lanka was trying to negotiate a loan from the IMF, after formal talks kicked off on Monday in Washington.
Analysts have flagged political instability as a serious risk for the country, which has been hit by financial mismanagement by the government, the coronavirus pandemic, and surging fuel prices.