Mobs attack protesters, burn down shops
[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 October 2000, 12:42 GMT]
Riots broke out in the hill town of Talawakele, about 25 km. south-west of Nuwara Eliya as Sinhalese mobs attacked people protesting over the massacre of Tamil detainees at the Bindunuwewa detention centre last Wednesday. Two Tamils were killed and several others were wounded when police opened fire, said Mr. P.Chandrasekaran MP. The leader of the Upcountry People's Front also told TamilNet that the mobs later went on a rampage in the town, setting fire to several Tamil-owned shops.
Sources in Talawakele said about two thousand people participated in the protest rally on Sunday morning. Mr.Chandrasekaran was speaking at the rally when mobs began attacking the protestors.
The police used tear-gas and opened fire to disperse the demonstrators, but according to Mr.Chandrasekran, the police did not take any action to stop the mob that burnt down at least 15 shops near the bus terminal.
Sources said tension prevailed in Kotagale, Talawakela, Watagoda in the Nuwara Eliya District as arrangements were being made to conduct funeral of one of the victims who was killed during the attack on Bindunuwewa detention centre. The victim's body was transported to Watagoda on Saturday.
Earlier Sunday, crowds had stoned several buses. Unidentified youths stopped Colombo bound train from Badulla at Kotagale and set fire to some compartments, police said.
The police declared a curfew from Sunday noon till 5 a.m. Monday in these hill towns.