COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s acting president on Monday declared a state of emergency that gives him broad authority amid growing protests demanding his resignation — just two days before the country’s lawmakers are set to elect a new president.
Ranil Wickremesinghe became acting president on Friday after his predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled abroad and resigned after monthslong mass protests over the country’s economic collapse.
Wickremesinghe’s imposition of the state of emergency came as protests demanding his resignation continued in most parts of the country, with some demonstrators burning him in effigy.
The emergency decree invokes sections of the Public Security Ordinance that allow Wickremesinghe to make regulations in the interest of public security and order. Authorities can authorize detentions, take possession of property and search premises. Wickremesinghe can also change or suspend any law during the state of emergency.