Sri Lanka has granted its military and police emergency powers to arrest people without warrants after a day of violence that killed seven people and injured more than 200 and resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the older brother of sitting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
As the Indian Ocean nation battles its worst economic crisis in history, thousands of protesters defied an islandwide curfew until 7 am on Wednesday to continue protesting.
Shortages of fuel, food, and medicine brought thousands onto the streets in more than a month of protests that had been mostly peaceful until this week.
Some reports surfaced of angry protesters attacking politicians associated with the government late on Monday, setting fire to homes, shops, and businesses they own.
The situation had largely calmed by Tuesday, barring reports of sporadic unrest, said police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa, adding that some 200 people had been injured on Monday.
According to the latest decision, the military can detain people for up to 24 hours before handing them to the police, while any private property can be searched by forces, the government said in a gazette notification on Tuesday.
“Any person arrested by a police officer shall be taken to the nearest police station,” it said, fixing a 24-hour deadline for the armed forces to do the same.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES