Sri Lanka declares state of emergency amid protest over economic crisis

A Sri Lankan protests demanding president Gotabaya Rajapaksa resign, in Colombo | Photo: AP

Colombo: The crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Friday declared a state of emergency after the crippling strike and protest over the external debt for the second time in five weeks.

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today declared a state of emergency citing "public security and the protection of public order and for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community." It will come into effect on May 6 at midnight.

The move comes after massive protests across the island nation demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa and the entire government over the economic crisis in the country. The first state of emergency was declared on April 1, 2022.

Trade unions staged a nationwide strike demanding his resignation over the crisis. Over 2,000 trade unions participated in today's nationwide hartal and strike against the President, Prime Minister, and the government, Colombo Page reported.

All Ceylon Transport Workers Union, Sri Lanka Railway Station Masters' Union (SLRSMU), the University students, and many other unions are protesting today against the Rajapaksa family.

Earlier, President in a special meeting requested Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to step down from his power as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country.

In a special meeting between President and the cabinet Ministers, PM Rajapaksa said that if the new government will solve the economic crisis and could bring an immediate solution, then he would give his blessing to the new government, Daily Mirror reported.

Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours. The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a clampdown on tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is unable to buy sufficient fuel and gas, while the people are being deprived of basic amenities as well.

The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.


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