As the country battles unprecedented economic and civil turmoil, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s office today said that an indefinite nationwide state of emergency has been imposed in the island nation. The move came just hours after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country. Reports said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will takeover as caretaker President since Rajapaksa has fled.
Dinouk Colombage, spokesman for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, told news agency AFP: “Since the president is out of the country, an emergency has been declared to deal with the situation in the country.”
To quell the protests that intensified as Rajapaksa flew the country, the country’s police said they were also imposing an indefinite curfew across the Western Province, which includes the capital Colombo.
After taking over President’s residence, thousands of protestors tried to enter Prime Minister’s office, leading to police fire tear gas to hold them back from overrunning the compound.
Talking to AFP, a senior police officer said: “There are ongoing protests outside the prime minister’s office in Colombo and we need the curfew to contain the situation.”
They were under orders to crack down against demonstrators disrupting the functioning of the state, he told AFP.
Earlier, tens of thousands of protestors stormed President Rajapaksa’s official residence, forcing him to first flee army base, and then to Maldives.
According to Sri Lankan officials, Rajapaksa had promised to resign on Wednesday.
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