Sri Lanka declares state of emergency, ahead of vote for new president

Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency in the crisis-ridden island nation in an effort to head off unrest ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to elect a new president.

Wickremesinghe announced the measure “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,” according to a government notice released late on Sunday.

The specific legal provisions of the latest emergency are yet to be announced by the government but previous emergency regulations have been used to deploy the military to arrest and detain people, search private property and dampen public protests.

Sri Lanka’s beleaguered leaders have imposed a state of emergency several times since April, when mass protests started against the government’s handling of the economic crisis and a persistent shortage of essentials. Wickremesinghe had announced a state of emergency last week, after overthrown President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country to escape a popular uprising against his government.



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