Sri Lanka issues curfew in Colombo following latest anti-government protests

Sri Lankan authorities have announced Thursday the imposition of a curfew from 12.00 noon (local time) in the district of Colombo, the most populous city and former capital of the country, amid the wave of demonstrations in recent days and following the flight from the country of the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Information Department of the Sri Lankan Government has indicated that the curfew will be in force between 12.00 and 5.00 a.m. on Friday, a day after the Prime Minister and now interim President, Ranil Wickremesinghe decreed a state of emergency on the island.

For their part, the protesters have decided to abandon the official buildings they had occupied during the last few days, including the official residences of the president and the prime minister, as reported by the Ceylonese newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’.

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Wickremesinghe was appointed acting president during the day on Wednesday, hours after Rajapaksa left the country for the Maldives. Although the president had pledged to resign on July 13, he has so far not formalized the announcement.

Following this, Wickremesinghe urged the country’s security forces to do what was necessary to “restore order” to put an end to the “fascist threat” in the wake of the strong wave of protests and confirmed the creation of a commission formed by three commanders of the Armed Forces and the Inspector General of Police, who have given authorization to take appropriate measures to curb the advance of the demonstrators.

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Wickremesinghe has assured over the past few days that he will resign once an inclusive government is formed following Rajapaksa’s resignation, although protesters, who have been mobilizing for weeks to protest against the economic crisis and worsening quality of life, have demanded that the prime minister also resign. The interim president is expected to be elected by July 20 at the latest and pending elections, which should not be held later than March 2023.

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