As protests erupt across the island, Sri Lanka’s president declares a new state of emergency

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa imposed a state of emergency on Friday, following weeks of protests and a countrywide strike that shut down schools, shops, and public transportation.

Protesters who obstruct roads will be arrested under the state of emergency. Sri Lanka’s parliament must pass the proposal within 14 days.

Since March, the country has been rocked by civil unrest, with rallies turning violent at times as discontent grows over the government’s perceived mishandling of the country’s economic problems.

On Friday, police used tear gas near the country’s parliament in Colombo, the country’s capital.

Some have criticized the state of emergency, with opposition leader Sajith Premadasa saying it “goes opposite to finding any solution to the situation.”

On April 1, Rajapaksa imposed a state of emergency, but it was revoked after five days.

Protesters have called for Rajapaksa’s resignation, citing soaring food, fuel, and other basic needs as the government runs out of cash. Many people have been forced to stand in the scorching heat for hours to fill their gas tanks or acquire food and medicine.

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ali Sabry stated this week that the country’s financial reserves are nearly depleted. The country has requested emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund.

 

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