Sri Lanka declared a 36-hour nationwide curfew Saturday and deployed troops backed with sweeping new powers under a state of emergency to quell protests against the president, his relatives and even his most trusted shaman.
The lockdown will go into effect at dusk Saturday and be lifted on Monday morning, police said — a period that covers planned mass anti-government protests against worsening shortages of fuel, food and medicines.
The order came a day after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa invoked a state of emergency following a violent attempt to storm his house, saying it was for the “protection of public order”.
The ire of a mob in the near-bankrupt country was directed on Saturday at a woman identified as a soothsayer frequently consulted by Rajapaksa in the northern town of Anuradhapura.
Rights activist and former opposition legislator Hirunika Premachandra led dozens of women to storm seer Gnana Akka’s shrine and residence, but armed police stopped them.