Sri Lankan Prime Minister and interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared on Wednesday a nationwide state of emergency in the country after its head of state, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled amid the ongoing protests on the island.
“Since the president is out of the country, an emergency has been declared to deal with the situation,” Wickremesinghe’s spokesperson Dinouk Colombage told AFP. After Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives, Wickremesinghe was named Sri Lanka’s interim president.
The protests in Sri Lanka errupted in March 2022 amid the economic and political crisis the country has been facing since 2019. Marked by the staggering rises in inflation, shortages of energy and essential goods, corruption, and excessive money printing by the Central Bank, the turmoil led the island to sovereign default.