Sri Lanka declares public emergency amidst protests over economic crisis – Times of India

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a general emergency amid a stream of protests over the country’s worst economic crisis.
Rajapaksa issued a special newspaper report on Friday, declaring a general emergency in Sri Lanka with effect from 1 April.
By order of the President, the Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath issued an extraordinary Gazette.
The move came after a violent protest erupted outside Rajapaksa’s residence on Thursday as hundreds of protesters gathered there demanding his resignation for what they called his failure to address the worst economic crisis in the island nation.
Several people were injured and vehicles were set on fire when the uprising became violent. The police shot tear gas and water guns against the demonstrators after they have drawn down a steel barren placed near the president’s home. After the incident, several people were arrested and a curfew was imposed shortly in most parts of the city of Colombo.
A currency crisis in Sri Lanka has led to a shortage of important goods such as fuel and cooking gas. Power outages lasting up to 13 hours a day.
A statement from the president’s media department on Friday said that an extremist group was behind the riots near President Rajapaksa’s residence in Mirihana.
At the same time, the police said that the number of people arrested in the aftermath of the violence had risen to 54. Lawyers linked to opposition parties claimed that the police could prosecute the detainees under the Draconian Terrorism Prevention Act (PTA).
Five police officers were injured, while a police bus, a jeep and two motorcycles were burned when the protesters became violent. The protesters also caused damage to a police water cannon truck.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. With long queues for fuel, cooking gas, lack of necessities and long hours of power outages, the public has suffered for several weeks.
Rajapaksa has defended the actions of his government, saying that the currency crisis was not his creation and that the economic downturn was largely due to a pandemic where the island’s tourism revenues and payments declined.


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