Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has announced the lifting of emergency in the country after almost two weeks. Due to heavy protests against the government, President Gotabaya declared a state of emergency on the midnight of 6 May. According to sources, the President’s Secretariat said that the state of emergency has been lifted in the country from midnight on Friday. It is believed that this step has been taken to improve the law and order situation in the country. During the Emergency, the police and security forces had the authority to arrest and detain people arbitrarily.
The Presidential Secretariat stated that the state of emergency has been lifted with effect from Friday midnight, Hiru News reported.
The move was taken with the improvement of the law and order situation in the island nation.
The state of emergency gave the police and the security forces sweeping power to arbitrarily arrest and detain people.
The president’s decision to declare the emergency had come amidst weeks of protests demanding his resignation and the government, blaming the powerful Rajapaksa clan for mishandling the island nation’s economy, already hit by the pandemic.
Nine people were killed and over 200 injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
An inflation rate spiralling towards 40 per cent, shortages of food, fuel and medicines and rolling power blackouts have led to nationwide protests and a plunging currency, with the government short of the foreign currency reserves it needed to pay for imports.
New York-based ratings agency Fitch has downgraded debt-ridden Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating to “restricted default” after the country defaulted on making international sovereign bond payments.
On April 12, Fitch had downgraded Sri Lanka to ‘C’.