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Sri Lanka’s acting leader declares state of emergency

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (AP) – Sri Lanka’s acting president yesterday declared a state of emergency giving him broad authority amid growing protests demanding his resignation two days before the country’s lawmakers are set to elect a new president.

Ranil Wickremesinghe became acting president on Friday after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad last Wednesday and resigned after months-long mass protests over the country’s economic collapse.

Wickremesinghe’s move to impose a state of emergency comes as protests demanding his resignation too have continued in most parts of the country, with some protesters burning his effigy.

Lawmakers who met on Saturday began the process of electing a new leader to serve the rest of the term abandoned by Rajapaksa. Nominations for the election of the new president will be heard today, and if there is more than one candidate the lawmakers will vote tomorrow.

Trade union representatives and activists during a protest. PHOTO: AP