After a devastating strike and protest over the external debt for the second time in five weeks, Sri Lanka imposed a state of emergency on Friday.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka proclaimed a state of emergency today, citing “public security and public order, as well as the maintenance of supplies and services necessary to the community’s livelihood.”
It has been in effect at midnight on May 6th.
The move comes after widespread protests around the island nation calling for President Rajapaksa and the whole government to quit over the country’s economic predicament. On April 1, 2022, the first state of emergency was announced.
Trade unions held a statewide walkout in response to the issue, calling for his resignation. Colombo Page claimed that approximately 2,000 trade unions took part in today’s statewide hartal and strike against the President, Prime Minister, and administration.
All Ceylon Transport Workers Union, the Sri Lanka Railway Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU), university students, and a number of other organisations are opposing the Rajapaksa family.
Earlier, President Rajapaksa suggested that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stand down as a solution to the country’s protracted political crisis in a special meeting.
PM Rajapaksa said in a special meeting with the President and cabinet ministers that if the new government can address the economic issue and deliver an immediate solution, he will give his blessing to it.
Sri Lanka is experiencing severe food and electricity shortages, leading it to seek assistance from its neighbours. Foreign exchange problems caused by a tourism ban during the COVID-19 pandemic are blamed for the slump. The country is unable to purchase sufficient fuel and gas, and its citizens are without basic necessities.
The economic condition has sparked widespread protests, with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa being called to quit.