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June 28, 2022

Sri Lanka Warns Those Damaging Property Can Be Shot: 10 Points

Sri Lanka on Tuesday said those found damaging public property or harming others could be shot, after a day of clashes that . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . killed seven people and injured more than 200, in violence that prompted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign.

As the Indian Ocean nation battles its worst economic crisis in history, thousands of protesters had defied curfew to attack government figures, setting ablaze homes, shops and businesses belonging to ruling party lawmakers and provincial politicians.
Despite sporadic reports of unrest, the situation calmed by Tuesday, said police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa, adding that about 200 people had also been injured in violence that led to an island-wide curfew until 7:00 am the following day.

The government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of the Prime Minister, outlined broad powers for the military and police to detain and question people without arrest warrants. The president had already declared a state of emergency on Friday as protests escalated.

The military can detain people for up to 24 hours before handing them to police, while private property can be searched by force, including private vehicles, the government said in a gazette notification on Tuesday. Some experts expressed concern over the potential for abuse of the emergency measures.

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