Muslims protestors riot in downtown Colombo

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 May 2001, 10:21 GMT]
Riots broke out in downtown Colombo Friday as Muslims angered by Sinhalese attacks on their brethren in the provincial town of Mawanella this week stoned Sinhala owned shops and smashed up more than 12 vehicles. The Sri Lankan Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Muslims who demonstrated after Friday Jummah prayers in Maradana, Panchikawatta, Maaligawatte and Hulftsdorp.

The demonstrators threw stones at the Police and beat up some of them. Downtown Colombo is tense following the riots, sources said. Troops and Special Task Force commandos of the Police were deployed in the Muslim neighbourhoods of downtown Colombo this afternoon. Meanwhile a 12-hour curfew has been imposed in Colombo from 6 p.m. Friday police said.

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Sri Lankan riot police stand guard during a Muslim demonstration in Colombo. (Photo: Reuters)
The Police had deployed Policemen near Mosques in downtown Colombo Friday following intelligence reports that demonstrations against the attack on Muslims in Mawanella had been planned after Friday prayers and that the protests could turn unruly.

The Muslim rioters damaged a fuel station in Panchikawatte, a busy business sector of downtown Colombo and attacked vehicles in Armour Street and Clock Tower in Kotahena. Four public transport buses were smashed up by the rioters, Police said.

Hundreds and homes and businesses belonging to Muslims were burnt in the large provincial town of Mawanella on Tuesday and Wednesday by Sinhala mobs, which according to Sri LankaĚs opposition, were backed by ruling party politicians.

 

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