Amid the country’s economic crisis and the consequent anti-government protests, the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday declared a state of emergency with effect from Friday midnight, giving its security forces sweeping powers, news agency PTI reported.
The decision came amid weeks of protests with the public demanding the resignation of the President and the government. According to the presidential media division, Rajapaksa’s decision aimed at ensuring public security and maintain the flow of essential services resulting in a smooth functioning of the country.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan police used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse students who protested outside Parliament slamming lawmakers for not ousting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.
Sri Lanka is witnessing the worst economic turmoil in its history characterised by shortage of essentials, and power outages induced by severe forex crisis.
Rajapaksa had earlier declared emergency on April 1 after a mass protest opposite his residence. He then revoked it on April 5.
The state of emergency gives the security forces and the police the power to arbitrarily detain and even arrest people.
–With inputs from PTI, AP