Acting Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe Declares State of Emergency

Sri Lanka’s acting president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, declared a state of emergency on Sunday amid social unrest and a surging economic crisis in the country.

“It is expedient, so to do, in the interests of public security, the protection of public order, and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community,” the government notice said.

Wickremesinghe’s move to declare a state of emergency gave him broad authority amid growing protests demanding his resignation two days before Sri Lankan lawmakers elect a new president.

Wickremesinghe can authorize detentions, take possession of any property, search any premises, and change or suspend any law under the imposed emergency regulations.

Bhavani Fonseka, senior researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, said declaring a state of emergency has become the Sri Lankan government’s default response.

“This has proven ineffective in the past,” Fonseka said.

Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s acting president on Friday when Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad last Wednesday and resigned following extensive mass protests over the country’s economic collapse.

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