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Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares state of emergency following anti-government protests

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a gazette declaring a 'public emergency' following anti-government protests.

The gazette notes the declaration to be in the 'interests of public security'.The emergency law enables all Sri Lankan state authorities to detain people without warrants, seize property, enter and search any premises, suspend laws and issue orders that cannot be questioned in court. Officials who issue such orders are also immune from lawsuits.

The Proclamation must be communicated to Parliament, which must be summoned for that purpose.The constitution requires that it be approved within 14 days by the 225-member parliament.

The President has the sole discretion to declare a State of Emergency, by way of a Proclamation (Article 155 of the Constitution). A declaration of a State of Emergency cannot be challenged in the Courts. The Proclamation of the State of Emergency brings into operation the provisions of the PSO including the power of the President to make Emergency Regulations. These may override any other law but cannot override the constitution.

The declaration comes a day after protestors converged on the Presidents residence. Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis in decades, government mismanagement has only made the crisis worse.

Read the declaration here

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