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Sri Lanka: Wickremesinghe declares state of emergency

Acting President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has declared a state of emergency in his country. Wickremesinghe said in a statement today that this was “in the interest of public safety”.

In addition, this measure serves to protect public order and maintain supplies and services indispensable to social life.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the island state in southern India after ongoing mass protests. Wickremesinghe was sworn in as acting president.

Elections on Wednesday

A new head of state is due to be elected on Wednesday. Wickremesinghe is one of two promising candidates. Four candidates are competing in parliament in the capital, Colombo. Some protesters want Wickremesinghe to go because they see him as an ally of former President Rajapaksa.

The debt-laden island nation of about 22 million people is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades. After Rajapaksa fled, the street protests subsided. About 500 people continue to occupy parts of the presidential palace after it was overrun by demonstrators.

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