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Nagpur: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday once again declared a State of Emergency, giving the security forces sweeping powers as a nationwide strike demanding his resignation bring the nation to a standstill.

This is the second time Emergency has been declared in the span of five weeks. Spokesman for the President said he invoked the tough laws to ‘ensure public order’ after shops closed and public transport was halted by several unions which blamed him for the economic crisis in the country.

The spokesman said, “The President used his executive powers to invoke Emergency regulations to ensure the maintenance of essential services and public order.” Tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse the protestors which included students who attempted to storm the national parliament, demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation.

Gotabaya had first declared an emergency on April 1, after protests intensified in the nation as citizens struggled to access and afford essential items including food, fuel and medicines. Friday’s move came a day after hundreds of youth gathered outside the Parliament, in addition to ongoing protests near the Presidential Secretariat and Prime Minister’s official residence, demanding that the Rajapaksa brothers resign.

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