January 30, 2023

Sri Lanka president declares new state of emergency as protests roil island

1 min read


Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Raja Pakse declared a state of emergency on Friday. Long protest And the general strike closed schools, businesses and transport services.

The state of emergency will allow the arrest of protesters blocking roads. The measure must be approved by the Sri Lankan parliament within 14 days.

The country has been in the throes of civil unrest since March, with demonstrations sometimes escalating into anger over the government’s apparently mishandling of the country’s economic crisis.

On Friday, police fired tear gas at protesters near the domestic parliament in the national capital Colombo.

The state of emergency was criticized by some, with opposition leader Sajit Primadasa saying the move was “against finding a solution to the crisis.”

Raja Pakse had first declared a state of emergency on April 1, but withdrew it five days later.

Protesters have demanded the resignation of Raja Pakse, who is frustrated with skyrocketing prices of food, fuel and other essentials as the government has run out of money. Many are forced to spend hours in the scorching heat filling their tanks at gas stations or delivering food and medicine.

This week, Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabri acknowledged that the country’s financial reserves were on the verge of depletion. The country has appealed to the International Monetary Fund for emergency funding.

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