Sri Lanka declares emergency ahead of president vote

STORY: Streets in Colombo remained calm on Monday morning, with traffic and pedestrians out on the streets.

Harendra Gururatna, who volunteers at the main protest sites said the state of emergency and curfews have been declared a few times, but protesters have continued to camp at a protest site near the President's Secretariat.

Auto-rickshaw drivers in days-long fuel queues inched their vehicles towards petrol stations under the watchful eye of armed security.

"it is very difficult these days because we have, I have to keep my vehicle at home and come in the bus only to work," said Rukshan Vijaykulasuriya, who works in an insurance company.

"It (the state of emergency) is going to take us from bad to worse. There is no hope in this country," Catholic priest Father Manu Kumar told Reuters as he was waiting in line for fuel.

Sri Lanka's beleaguered leaders have imposed a state of emergency several times since April, when public protests took hold against the government's handling of a deepening economic crisis and a persistent shortage of essentials.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives and then Singapore last week after hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters came out onto the streets of Colombo a week ago and occupied his official residence and office. The parliament will vote for a new president on Wednesday (July 20).

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