Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a public emergency, through a special gazette notification on Friday, as protests have rocked the tiny island nation amid the worst economic crisis it has ever seen.
The decision to impose an emergency came after a protest took place outside the residence of Rajapaksa on Thursday gathered there and demanded his resignation.
A foreign exchange crisis, which has led to a shortage of essential goods such as fuel, cooking gas, and power cuts for 13 hours a day in some instances, has made people from different walks of life protest against the government. As many students from Sri Lanka have taken to the streets.
“Massive protest in Wijerama Junction led by Students of the University of Jayawardanapura as the citizens of Sri Lanka is still demanding the President and the current government to step down! #PowerToThePeople #EconomicCrisisLK #SriLankaCrisis,” said a tweet by a medical student, Christopher Sheron, highlighting the massive protest by students from USJ.
Some Twitter users also pointed to the fact that students are facing ramifications of the shortage of essential goods. “My friends in Sri Lanka are suffering. Students I have taught have no money to buy food. Some provinces don't have milk, elderly have no medicines. It's heartbreaking,” said a tweet by Abhishek Ramanuja, an educator.
In March, Sri Lanka had cancelled school exams for millions of students after running out of printing paper. “School principals cannot hold the tests as printers are unable to secure foreign exchange to import necessary paper and ink,” the Department of Education of the Western Province had said in a statement.
Term tests for grades 9, 10, and 11 are part of a year-long assessment process that determines whether students will be promoted to the next grade.