Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared an island-wide Emergency and a curfew in the Western Province, his office said.
The Prime Minister’s Office further said the Emergency has been declared “using his powers as acting President”.
The move assumes significance as the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is yet to officially resign.
Asked how Wickremesinghe could invoke “powers of an acting President” when Gotabaya is still in office, PM’s spokesman Dinouk Colombage told The Hindu: “The legal explanation will follow. We want to get the situation under control first.”
Prime Minister’s office, around 12.25 pm, “clarifies” earlier announcement, saying Wickremesinghe will declare an Emergency “when he becomes acting president”.
Protests outside PM’s office
Thousands of angry protesters gathered outside the PM’s office, official and private residences, and several other locations in capital Colombo Wednesday morning.
These developments came hours after Gotabaya fled the country amid a worsening economic crisis that culminated in a dramatic takeover of the President’s office and home last weekend, and torching of the PM’s private residence.
Meera Sreenivasan is The Hindu Correspondent in Colombo