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Sri Lanka arrests over 600 people for violating curfew as protests continue

Sri Lankan police have arrested 664 individuals in the Western province for having violated an island-wide curfew, as a crackdown ensures in the wake of anti-government protests.

In response to growing unrest due to protests over the deteriorating economic crisis, the Sri Lankan government issued a 36-hour curfew. The curfew will be effective until 6 am on Monday.

In addition to limitations on movement, there have also been reports of restrictions on a number of major social media platforms including Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook – key platforms of communication for many on the island.

Critics allege that the social media blackouts and the curfew infringe on the right to freedom of assembly; a right which is outlined in the Sri Lankan constitution and that the actions taken by the Rajapaksa government are intended to hinder civil organization.

The arrests come as increased military deployments have been reported around the Sri Lankan capital, where protests began on Thursday evening. The Sri Lankan security forces dispersed the demonstrations with the use of tear gas and water cannons.

A state of emergency has since been declared across the island.

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