Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a state of emergency on Friday as violence erupted in Colombo during large rallies against economic mismanagement.
“WHEREAS, I am of opinion that by reason of a public emergency in Sri Lanka, it is expedient, so to do, in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community, Know ye that, I, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President, by virtue of the powers vested in me by Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40), as amended by Act, No. 8 of 1959, Law No. 6 of 1978 and Act, No.28 of 1988, do by this Proclamation declare that the provisions of Part II of that Ordinance, shall come into operation throughout Sri Lanka with effect from 01st April, Two Thousand and Twenty Two,” the president said in a statement, published by the national Gazette Extraordinary.
Sri Lankan police detained 54 people on Thursday night after protestors attempted to attack the president’s mansion and demand his resignation. During the violence, at least 37 individuals were hurt, including journalists and police officers, according to local media.
According to the news agency, police deployed tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators who attempted to attack the president’s mansion in the capital.
According to the publication, many of those arrested were organised extremists, according to the President’s Media Division.
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Sri Lankan authorities lifted the curfew that had been imposed in the capital late Thursday night after huge protests on Friday morning.
Sri Lanka is in the midst of its biggest economic crisis since its 1948 independence. Foreign exchange constraints coming from limited tourist flows owing to the coronavirus outbreak have prevented the country from acquiring enough fuel, causing the crisis. The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the island’s tourism industry, which is a major source of foreign revenue, as well as remittances from Sri Lankans working overseas.
Food, basic essentials, petrol, and gas are all in low supply throughout the country. Due to a scarcity of foreign exchange, many districts of Sri Lanka are experiencing continuous power outages of up to 13 hours.