Sri Lanka revokes state of emergency after unrest

State of emergency declared after huge crowd gathered outside President Rajapaksa’s residence over economic crisis in country.

Sri Lanka revokes state of emergency after unrest

Sri Lanka’s president has revoked a state of emergency previously declared in the island nation, according to the country’s Official Gazette on Tuesday.

The extraordinary issue of the Official Gazette said revoking of the emergency was effective as of Tuesday midnight.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced the emergency a day after a huge crowd gathered outside his home and demanded his resignation.

On Thursday night, a large number of protesters had gathered outside the private residence of the president in Colombo. Rajapaksa blamed “organized extremists” for staging the protest.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested a large number of protesters, according to local media.

Protesters claim that the Rajapaksa administration's improper practices caused the country’s foreign exchange reserves to deplete rapidly, severely impacting essential imports and leading to price increases for staple foods and shortages of essential items such as cooking gas and fuel.

The UN representative in the country Hanaa Singer-Hamdy on Friday called for restraint from all groups. "We are monitoring developments and are concerned by reports of violence in #SriLanka," she said on Twitter.

On Saturday, the EU delegation in Sri Lanka said it continues to follow the situation closely.

"Concerned by the state of emergency, EU strongly urges Sri Lankan authorities to safeguard democratic rights of all citizens, including right to free assembly and dissent, which has to be peaceful. Challenging times for Sri Lankan people - EU continues to follow situation closely," it said on Twitter.

Sri Lanka has been reeling from the worst economic crisis that has resulted in 13-hour-long rolling blackouts, and a shortage of fuel, food, and medicines supply.

The country, which needs to repay an estimated $7.3 billion in domestic and foreign loans over the next 12 months, was left with reserves of $2.31 billion as of February and may go bankrupt.