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Nagpur: A day after hundreds tried to storm into Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence, the island nation declared a state of emergency.

As per local media reports, the public emergency came into effect from April 1. Gotabaya in the gazette issued said, “In the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”

Under the emergency regulations, the president can authorize detentions, take possession of any property and conduct searches at any premises. The president also has the power to either suspend or change any law.

This development comes after hundreds of protestors on Thursday night clashed with the police for several houses as anger against the Sri Lankan president’s handling of the on-going economic crisis in the nation. There has been a severe shortage of foreign currency that has left the Gotabaya-led government unable to pay for the essential imports, including fuel, leading to power cuts lasting up to almost 13 hours a day.

At least 53 people were arrested following the protests on Thursday night near the president’s house demanding his resignation. The Covid-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to Sri Lanka’s economy, with the government estimating a loss of $14 billion in the last two years.

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