Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday, 1 April, declared a state of emergency in the country, giving sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects with immediate effect.
This came a day after hundreds tried to storm his house in anger over the economic crisis.
Rajapaksa issued the "Extraordinary Gazette", declaring a public emergency. The president said he believed there was a "public emergency in Sri Lanka" that necessitated invoking the tough laws.
"The Gazette has been issued considering the prevailing situation in the country and 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," said a statement.
Under the new regulations, the president can change or suspend laws, authorise arrests and detentions, take possession of properties, and search any premises.
As per the latest data released on Friday, 1 April, inflation in Colombo hit 18.7 percent in March, whereas food inflation touched a record 30.1 percent.
India Supplies Diesel to Sri Lanka
India has supplied 40,000 tonnes of diesel under a $1 billion credit line given to Sri Lanka. A ship carrying the same reached the island nation on Saturday. The fuel will now be distributed across Sri Lanka on Saturday evening.
The capital city of Colombo on Thursday erupted in violent protest as thousands of people participated in an agitation near President Rajapaksa's residence, demanding his resignation.
Rajapaksa has blamed the violence on "extremist elements."
The protesters chanted "Go home Gota!" and "Gota is a dictator", reported Al Jazeera.
Witnessing one of its worst economic crises in decades, Sri Lanka is facing an acute shortage of foreign currency, which has resulted in the Rajapaksa government failing to pay for essential imports.
(With inputs from Al Jazeera)