Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a state of national emergency due to mass protests against the deep economic crisis in the island state.
The state of emergency gives the president, police and army expanded security powers, for example to arrest protesters. Meanwhile, a curfew will be in effect for the next 36 hours until Monday morning. It starts in the evening at 6 pm, until 6 am the next morning.
Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Saturday following a demonstration outside his private residence, 14 kilometers south of the capital, Colombo. It started on Thursday night and quickly turned violent. The demonstrators threw stones at the police and set five cars on fire, after which the police fired tear gas. More than 30 protesters and at least 24 police officers were injured and 53 people were arrested.
Several demonstrations are planned across the country this weekend. Sri Lanka is facing a deep economic crisis, accompanied by high inflation of about 19 percent (the highest in Asia) and shortages of food and fuel. The island nation of 22 million has enlisted the help of China, India, the International Monetary Fund and the International Monetary Fund.
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