Sri Lanka’s parliament on Wednesday approved a state of emergency imposed on July 13 to give security forces sweeping powers to arrest and detain individuals after then-president Gotabaya Rajapksa fled to the Maldives and resigned amid a massive uprising against him over the country’s economic crisis.
Emergency regulations declared by the then acting president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, were to be sanctioned by Parliament within 14 days.
It was approved on Wednesday with 120 MPs voting in favor and 63 against in the 225-member parliament. Wickremesinghe was elected president of Sri Lanka on July 20.
The main opposition SJB and the main Tamil party TNA voted against, while at least four of the ruling SLPP members also voted against. With parliamentary sanction on Wednesday, the state of emergency would be in effect until August 14.
During a debate in parliament, opposition lawmakers accused Wickremesinghe of ordering a crackdown on peaceful protesters using a state of emergency.
The government has been accused of launching a crackdown on protesters who forced the resignation of the Rajapaksa family.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) claimed the protesters were “terrorists” and were led by “extremist political elements” who wanted anarchy to reign.
More than 70 SLPP parliamentarians suffered arson attacks on their personal property and Wearisomeness House was also set on fire by protesters.
Main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said: “The protesters have been peaceful for months. Where was the start of the violence? he asked, accusing the government of sparking the violence on May 9 by attacking protesters.
Earlier, addressing Parliament, new Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the government was ready to listen to the demands of the Democratic public protesters, but denounced the acts of terrorism, calling them “the greatest threat to democracy”. . Sri Lankan security forces forcibly removed anti-government protesters camping outside the presidential office in Colombo in a pre-dawn raid last week on the orders of President Wickremesinghe that left more than 50 people injured.
The assault on protesters drew widespread criticism, including from foreign envoys stationed in Colombo.
Rights groups spoke out on Wednesday after a prominent activist named Danish Ali was arrested on board a flight to Dubai on Tuesday evening.
He was seen storming state TV on July 13 by forcibly cutting off its transmission during the uprising. Police said he evaded an arrest warrant issued on July 22.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)