Ahead of major public protest, Rajapaksa declares state of emergency

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Amidst growing public protests all the over Sri Lanka and ahead of a massive street march on Sunday, President Gotabaya Rajapaska has declared a state of emergency.

Late Friday night, the President imposed tough laws allowing the military to arrest and remand suspects for long periods without trial amidst the mounting public protest demanding Rajapaksa immediate resignation over the ongoing fuel and energy crisis in the island nation.

On Thursday night, a violent protest erupted outside the President’s house in the suburbs of Colombo where police clashed with the public, leading to the injuries of 24 police personnel and 15 citizens.

The protesters torched a bus and several other vehicles belonged to the police.

Over 50 protesters were arrested, of which 20 received bail on Friday while the rest were remanded.

An overnight curfew was imposed in parts of Colombo and the entire Western Province where the capital city is situated.

Meanwhile government ally Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) lead by former President Maithripala Sirisena urged the President to immediately form a caretaker government with the participation of all political parties to resolve the impending crisis.

The party threatened to step down from all ministerial portfolios held by its MPs if Rajapaksa doesn’t heed to its demand.

With 14 MPs, SLFP has helped the Rajapaksa-led government to have the 2/3 majority in Parliament with 225 MPs.

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst economic crisis since independence, with people having to undergo 13 hour daily power cuts, queue up for days to get fuel and gas and supermarkets have been emptied without essential food and medicine.

The power cut will be reduced to two hours from Sunday with a diesel shipment obtained from the Indian line of credit.

India has assisted Sri Lanka to overcome the crisis with nearly $2.5 billion since January.

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