The head of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, announced that Rajapaksa appointed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to perform his duties while he is abroad, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.
Wickremesinghe, as acting president, imposed a curfew in the Western province with immediate effect and imposed emergency law throughout the island, the Prime Minister’s Office said, the Ada Derana website reported.
The fledging president also ordered security forces to arrest those engaging in insubordinate behavior, he said in a statement.
The move came as thousands of protesters rallied outside the prime minister’s office and elsewhere in Colombo this morning.
Sri Lanka, a nation of 22 million people, is going through its worst economic crisis in seven decades, with millions unable to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.