Sri Lanka’s parliament has extended a state of emergency declared by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as his government cracks down on demonstrators it accuses of violence while trying to find a way out of the country’s worst economic crisis.

The vote passed by 120 to 63 in the 225-member parliament , while the remaining legislators abstained. The emergency ordinance, which empowers troops to arrest and detain suspects for long periods, would have lapsed yesterday if it had not been ratified by parliament.

Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency last week as acting president before legislators elected him to serve the remainder of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s five-year term until 2024.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka after thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence and other buildings. He later resigned from Singapore.

Opposition parties criticised the state of emergency as a government move to stifle dissent.

Within a day of Wickremesinghe’s election, the military raided and dismantled camps the protesters had set up for more than 100 days opposite the president’s office.

Police said in separate Wednesday statements that they had arrested activists Kusal Sandaruwan and Weranga Pushpika on unlawful assembly charges.

Credit: Aljazeera

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