NEW DELHI- The Sri Lankan government imposed a nationwide curfew on Saturday a day after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency in a bid to curb protests over the country’s worst economic crisis since its independence.
“Under the powers given to the president, curfew has been imposed countrywide from 6 pm on Saturday to 6 am on Monday,” the government’s information department said in a statement, adding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has given the directive under the Public Security Ordinance regulations.
The nationwide curfew was imposed after violent protests broke out outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s house. Dozens clashed on Thursday with police and the military outside Rajapaksa’s residence as they called for his ouster and torched several police and army vehicles.
The country facing unprecedented inflation is in deep economic crisis, forcing the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led government to issue an extraordinary gazette to declare a public emergency in the island nation.
Local media reports say the prevailing situation in the country has prompted the government to take such an action as it was necessary to ensure safety of public at large and to maintain public order.
Lawyer Nuwan Bopage, who was among around 500 lawyers gathered at the Colombo suburban Gangodawila magistrate’s court to give free counsel, said that out of the 54 arrested, as many as 21 were given bail. Six were remanded until April 4. The rest of the 27 are in hospitals with severe assault injuries.
Meanwhile, India sent a consignment of 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel to Sri Lanka today, the fourth such assistance from New Delhi.