A spokesman for the president said he was invoking strict laws to “ensure public order” after unions staged a nationwide strike on Friday demanding his resignation amid a worsening economic crisis.
The statement comes hours after student activists warned against besieging parliament.
Thousands of student activists from the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) had blocked the main access road to the parliamentary complex since Thursday and continued protests for nearly 24 hours.
Meanwhile, unions have launched a crippling strike across the island to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government over their inability to deal with the economic collapse that has caused unprecedented hardship to the public.
Sri Lanka’s government has faced a wave of protests across the country, with an increasingly outraged public demanding her resignation.
All unions of health, postal, port and other government services have joined the strike. However, several unions of the ruling party have refused to join.
Sri Lanka is currently in an unprecedented economic turmoil since independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is partly caused by a lack of foreign exchange, which has prevented the country from paying for basic food and fuel imports. lead to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 as the government ran out of money for essential imports; the prices of essential raw materials have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages of fuel, medicines and electricity.
Despite mounting pressure, President Rajapaksa and his older brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have refused to quit.
On Thursday, they won an important election to parliament when their candidate convincingly won the race for the post of vice-president.