Ahead of the planned protest for Sunday, the island nation had declared a 36-hour curfew from Saturday to Monday as the country faced a severe power crisis and rising inflation.

The island nation of 22 million people is having a hard time dealing with blackouts for up to 13 hours a day as the government scrambles to secure foreign exchange to pay for fuel imports.

A London based rights watchdog on Saturday warned the Sri Lankan government that the declaration of emergency in the island nation, in the name of public security, should not become a pretext for human rights violations.

“Sri Lanka: The declaration of the state of emergency in the name of public security should not become a pretext for further human rights violations. The order declaring a state of emergency intends to restrict the rights to freedom of association, assembly and movement as well as due process protections,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“In the context of growing public discontentment with the government’s handing of economics crisis, the state of emergency could have the effect of stifling dissent by creating fear, facilitating arbitrary arrests and detention,” the statement added.

On Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued the Extraordinary Gazette declaring a state of public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect.

Rajapaksa said the emergency was declared in the interests of public security, protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

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