Colombo – AFP
Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse on Friday imposed a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks, extending powers to the security forces, amid large-scale protests demanding his resignation.
A Rajapakse spokesman said there had been weeks of turmoil, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis in the country after the unions decided to close shops and shut down shared transport services to maintain public order.
The spokesman added: “The president has used his executive powers to impose emergency legislation to ensure the continuity of basic services and maintain public order.”
Earlier on Friday, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse students who tried to blockade the national parliament demanding Rajapakse’s resignation.
With the implementation of the Emergency Act, the security forces have been given expanded powers to detain suspects and detain them for long periods without judicial oversight. This decision allows the military to be deployed to maintain public order with the support of the police. He announced that the resolution to implement the emergency law would come into effect from midnight on Friday.
Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on April 1, a day after thousands of protesters stormed his home in the capital. The struggles have intensified since then. Friday’s state of emergency coincided with the ongoing sit – in of thousands of protesters in front of his office, while small groups attempted to blockade the homes of government officials.
The 85,000-strong police force has intensified its efforts to protect ruling party representatives. But it reached its full potential, prompting it to seek the support of the security forces.
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