- Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa ordered that no one should visit public places without permission
- Rajapaksa issued a special notification declaring a public emergency in Sri Lanka from April 1
- People were seen protesting in several Colombo suburbs despite the curfew order
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered on Saturday that no one should visit public places without permission during a 36-hour curfew imposed by the government ahead of a planned anti-government rally over the worst economic crisis in the island nation.
Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification on Friday, declaring a public emergency in Sri Lanka with effect from April 1. In another regulation following his action to impose a state of emergency which followed an order to impose a nationwide curfew, Rajapaksa said no one should come out and visit public places during the curfew hours.
“I consider that it is necessary to maintain public order in the areas….direct that no person shall be on any public road, railway, public park, public recreation ground or other public ground or the seashore in such areas from 1800 hour of April 2, 2022, to 0600 hours of April 4, 2022, except under the authority of a written permit granted,” he said.
However, even after the curfew came into force at 6 pm on Saturday, peaceful protests continued well into the night. People were seen protesting in several Colombo suburbs despite the curfew order. In recent weeks, there has been mounting public anger against the government over its handling of the country’s worst-ever economic crisis.
People were seen standing in long queues for fuel and cooking gas, besides facing long hours of power outages. The demands for Rajapaksa’s resignation have been growing. A foreign exchange crunch in Sri Lanka has led to a shortage of essential goods such as fuel and cooking gas. Power cuts last up to 13 hours a day.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. With long lines for fuel, cooking gas, essentials in short supply, and long hours of power cuts the people have been suffering for weeks. Rajapaksa has defended his government's actions, saying the foreign exchange crisis was not his making and the economic downturn was largely pandemic driven.