Sri Lanka's Acting President and incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency in the country with immediate effect on Monday, 18 July.
The order comes ahead of the presidential election in Sri Lanka on 20 July and after tumultuous protests in the island nation that led to Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigning as president.
The government gazette dated 17 July, imposing a state of emergency in the troubled nation, was issued on Monday morning. According to the gazette, quoted by local media, an emergency has been declared in the interests of public security, the protection of public order, and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.
Under this order, security forces have been empowered to search, arrest, seize, and remove weapons and explosives, and enter and search premises or persons.
Former President Rajapaksa had emailed his resignation to the speaker on Friday, 15 July, two days after he fled from Sri Lanka to Maldives. He is now in Singapore.
At least four candidates, including PM Wickremesinghe, are in the race to become the new president. Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and Dullas Alahapperuma, a breakaway SLPP candidate, are also in the fray.
Emergency had been declared in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, 13 July as well, a day that saw vehement protests in Colombo, with demonstrators storming Wickremesinghe's house soon after news broke of Rajapaksa having left the country.
The country of 22 million people is under the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel, and other essentials.