“Security forces have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone who loots public property or attempts the life” of others, the ministry said.
The Sri Lankan government has deployed tens of thousands of troops — army, navy and air force — to patrol the bustling streets of the capital Colombo and elsewhere in the aftermath of a day of violence.
Police said on Tuesday that eight people, including two officers, were killed during an outbreak of violence the previous night. 65 residential buildings were damaged, of which 41 burned down, and 88 cars and buses as well as hundreds of two-wheelers were destroyed, according to the same source.
Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since Friday, giving the military expanded powers to arrest suspects.
The government also decreed a two-day curfew, after supporters of the government attacked a peaceful demonstration on Monday, which started a month ago, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
According to the capital’s main hospital, 219 people were injured in Monday’s violence and admitted for treatment. Six other people were injured in other incidents.
On Tuesday afternoon, Colombo’s police chief was assaulted and his vehicle set on fire by an angry mob accusing him of failing to protect peaceful protesters on Monday.