Sri Lanka lifts state of emergency as law and order situation improves

The country is facing its worst economic crisis since independence



AP
AP

By PTI

Published: Sat 21 May 2022, 8:19 PM

Last updated: Sat 21 May 2022, 10:35 PM

The state of emergency in Sri Lanka has been lifted with effect from Saturday after the government decided not to present the Emergency Regulations in Parliament for approval with the improvement of the law and order situation in the island nation, nearly two weeks after it was imposed following unprecedented anti-government protests.

Embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had declared a state of emergency with effect from May 6 midnight, the second time in just over a month amidst growing countrywide anti-government protests over the economic crisis.

The Presidential Secretariat stated that the state of emergency has been lifted with effect from Friday midnight, Hiru News reported.

The state of emergency was declared with a special gazette notification. It's up to Parliament to enact and enforce the state of emergency, which must be submitted to the House by the president within 14 days of enactment. However, the government decided not present the Emergency Regulations in Parliament, following which the emergency ceased to function.

The decision was taken as there was an improvement in the law and order situation.

The emergency was declared after weeks of protests by people demanding the president's resignation and the government, blaming the powerful Rajapaksa clan for mishandling the nation’s economy.

At least 10 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 means that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and high prices.

An inflation rate spiralling towards 40 per cent, shortage of food, fuel and medicines and power outages have led to nationwide protests and a plunging currency.

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’.


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