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Sri Lanka ends state of emergency: President

#Sri #Lanka #ends #state #emergency #President

Sri Lanka will not extend the state of emergency imposed to control anti-government protests as the situation in the impoverished nation has “stabilized”, the President’s Office said on Tuesday.

Ranil Wickremesinghe invoked the tough laws four days after his predecessor fled the country and resigned on July 14 after months of protests over acute food, fuel and medicine shortages.

The state of emergency imposed by Wickremesinghe expires on Thursday and he has the power to renew it every month thereafter.

“The situation in the country has stabilized, there is no need to re-impose the state of emergency when it expires this week,” Wickremesinghe’s office was quoted as saying.

Emergency regulations allow troops and police to arrest suspects and detain them for long periods of time.

The state of emergency has been widely criticized by human rights groups as a draconian move that allows the president to enact regulations and restrict citizens’ freedoms without judicial review.

Wickremesinghe’s predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was forced to flee the country and resign when tens of thousands of protesters overran his official residence.

The country’s 22 million people have been suffering from serious shortages of basic necessities since late last year, after the country ran out of foreign exchange to finance even its most basic imports.

The country defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in mid-April and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund over a possible bailout.

Sri Lanka is currently facing hyperinflation, with an overall rate of 60.8 percent, while food inflation last month was at a much higher 90.9 percent, according to official data.

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