Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after violent protests

World Saturday 02/April/2022 08:08 AM
By: DW
Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after violent protests
Sri Lanka is in the middle of a dire fuel shortage and people are anrgy over the government's handling of the situation

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a nationwide state of emergency on Friday evening after protesters clashed with the police the previous day.

Rajapaksa said in a government gazette notification that the decision was taken in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and to ensure the maintenance of essential services.

He said he believed there was a "public emergency in Sri Lanka" and tougher laws were needed to deal with the crisis.

Sri Lanka was rocked by violent protests Thursday evening, as hundreds of protesters gathered outside Rajapaksa's private residence outside of Colombo, the capital city.

People largely demanded that Rajapaksa step down from office, with people clashing with the police later.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse crowds after protesters set fire to police vehicles and threw bricks at officers.

Police arrested 53 protesters and imposed a curfew in and around Colombo to contain protests on Friday. But protests continued Friday as well.

Government officials have decried violent protests, with Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga warning of "economic consequences" should protests continue.

Sri Lanka's crisis deepens

Sri Lanka's foreign currency reserves are at a critical low, which means that a shortage of money has led to a shortage of fuel and other essential items.

Meanwhile, skyrocketing inflation and soaring food prices have also made things difficult for Sri Lankans.

The economic crisis has only worsened through the month and the country ran out of diesel at gas stations on Thursday.