From midnight, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares state of emergency

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares a state of emergency from midnight. In the interests of public safety, public order, and the provision of necessary goods and services, the President has stated this.

Earlier today, when the country was brought to a standstill by a trade union walkout demanding the government step down, police shot tear gas and water cannon at students attempting to attack Sri Lanka’s parliament.

Months of outages and severe food, fuel, and medication shortages have caused widespread hardship across the 22 million-strong island nation. The crowd soon reunited behind police barricades set up to block access to the parliament after officers shot tear gas and water cannon from two trucks.

After an earlier fruitless attempt on Thursday afternoon, police tried again with tear gas to disperse the crowd. The government’s mishandling of the crisis, Sri Lanka’s worst since independence in 1948, has provoked ongoing rallies calling for its removal.

Since Thursday, thousands of student protesters have been camped on the road leading to the legislature, which is located on a man-made island in a lake in Colombo’s capital.

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