Sri Lanka: Man arrested for stealing 50 tear gas canisters from police

Colombo: As the Sri Lankan economic crisis persists, a 31-year-old suspect was arrested for stealing about 50 tear gas canisters from police during protests at Polduwa Junction near Parliament, media reports said.

Notably, the man stole the canisters on July 13 when the police and the army were trying to disperse protesters who tried to advance toward parliament.

A group of protesters attacked a three-wheeler belonging to the police that was carrying tear gas canisters to the Polduwa Junction protest site. After the incident, the Welikada Police initiated an investigation into the matter, reported Daily Mirror.

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The police said that on Sunday they arrested a suspect at Obeysekarapura and recovered 50 teargas canisters from his residence in Borella following the questioning. As per reports, the suspect was a mason by profession and a resident of Polonnaruwa.

Sri Lanka’s Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe issued an Extraordinary Gazette declaring a State of Emergency in the island nation with effect from Monday, as the country grapples with social unrest and crippling economic crisis.

The gazette notification says, the public emergency in Sri Lanka has been declared in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community, local media outlet Daily Mirror reported.

The state of emergency has been declared in a proclamation by Wickremesinghe in terms of Article 40(1)(C) of the Constitution, by virtue of the powers vested in him by Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40), as amended by Act No. 8 of 1959, Law No. 6 of 1978 and Act No. 28 of 1988, the newspaper reported.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had offered his resignation after fleeing the country to Singapore. The president first flew to the Maldives after tens of thousands of protesters stormed his official residence in the capital Colombo.

The Sri Lankan Parliament announced that the nominations for the Presidential elections will be held on Tuesday and the new President of Sri Lanka will be elected on July 20.

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