Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Friday following a day of anti-government strikes and protests over a worsening economic crisis, Report informs via Reuters.
The measure, which drew immediate criticism from opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and from Canada’s ambassador, is effective immediately and was taken in the interests of public security, a government notice said.
Police earlier fired tear gas at dozens of demonstrators outside parliament, in the latest in more than a month of sporadically violent anti-government protests amid shortages of imported food, fuel and medicines.
Hit hard by the pandemic, rising oil prices and government tax cuts, Sri Lanka has been left with as little as $50 million in useable foreign reserves, the finance minister said this week.
Details of the latest emergency regulations were not yet made public, but previous emergency laws have given greater powers to the president to deploy the military, detain people without charge and break up protests.