Umm Muhammed Umar
Stores have opened in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, amid tight security, following President Gotabaya Rajapaksa having announced a state of emergency late yesterday. The state of emergency was declared to tackle growing unrest amid an economic crisis in the country. Rajapaksa claimed that state of emergency was essential to ensure public order, and to maintain essential supplies and services.
The President had invoked harsh laws that allowed the military a wide range of powers.
Hundreds of protesters clashed with police and the military outside Rajapaksa’s residence on Thursday, calling for him to be overthrown, following shortages of fuel and other essential items. Arab News reports that several police and military vehicles were torched. 53 people were arrested, and a curfew was imposed in and around Colombo on Friday.
According to Arab News, Sri Lankan residents were forced to endure rolling blackouts for up to 13 hours a day. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the island nations tourism sector. The Sri Lankan government was seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, and has requested loans from India and China.