Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sri Lankan leader asked to mull state of emergency



Sri Lankan leader asked to mull state of emergency

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Protesters in Sri Lanka are demanding the government step down over its mismanagement of the nation's worst-ever economic crisis. AFP

Sri Lankan leader asked to mull state of emergency

US and European diplomats Saturday urged Sri Lanka’s beleaguered president to repeal a state of emergency imposed after a general strike brought the bankrupt country to a halt.

Months of blackouts and acute shortages of food, fuel and medicines have caused widespread suffering across the South Asian island nation, which is enduring its worst-ever economic downturn.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a fresh state of emergency on Friday after weeks of protests demanding his government step down over its mismanagement of the crisis.

US ambassador Julie Chung said she was “concerned” by the second state of emergency in as many months, adding that Sri Lanka’s deepening economic crisis and political gridlock needed long-term solutions.

“The State of Emergency won’t help do that,” Chung said on Twitter.

The EU said the ordinance “could have a counter productive effect” and noted that a month of anti-government protests had so far been peaceful.

A spokesman for Rajapaksa said the state of emergency was imposed to “ensure public order” after Friday’s general strike brought public transport and economic activity to a halt.

The measure gives sweeping detention powers to the military and allows the president to make laws without parliamentary approval.

Rajapaksa declared an earlier state of emergency on April 1, a day after thousands of protesters attempted to storm his home in the capital Colombo.

It was allowed to lapse days later, but protests have since escalated and spread to every corner of the island.

Thousands have been camped outside Rajapaksa’s seafront office for nearly a month to demand his resignation.

Police fired a barrage of tear gas and water cannon on Friday in an effort to disperse student protesters who were blockading parliament.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Khmer influence growing in Hollywood

    The rare success of The Cleaning Lady – an American TV series which stars Cambodian-French Hollywood actress Elodie Yung – sheds some light on Asian immigrants to the US, yet a significant representation gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) exists both on screen and behind

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of