Colombo bans public processions

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 May 2001, 07:52 GMT]
urumaya_demo_colom_1_100501.jpgThe Sri Lankan government banned all public processions for a week under the Emergency Regulations Thursday. An official statement said that the ban commenced midnight of 9 May. The ban was promulgated in the Emergency Regulation No. 1 of 2001 (public precessions), according to the statement.

The Sinhala Buddhist extremist group, Sihala Urumaya said it was going to hold a rally in the capital Thursday to protest against the damage caused to Sinhala owned shops near downtown Colombo by Muslims angered by attacks on their brethren in the provincial town of Mawnella last Friday. Sri Lankan government officials said that the ban was to prevent Sinhala extremist elements from fomenting antipathy towards the Muslims and vice versa. Meanwhile riot Police Thursday fired tear gas to disperse a procession by an ad hoc front formed by the Sinhala extremist group Sihala Urumaya in Maradana, a predominantly Muslim quarter of downtown Colombo.

(Photo: TamilNet)
The ban was imposed following incidents tensions between Sinhalese and Muslims in some parts and between Tamils and Sinhalese in the hill country town of Balangoda this week.

The Sri Lankan government's main coalition partner, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has been demanding tough action against those who destroyed hundreds of Muslim owned shops, houses, vehicles and two mosques in Mawanella on 2 May. The SLMC says that the attack in Mawanella was well orchestrated and aimed at destroying the MulsimĖs peopleĖs economy.

The government however said that it has transferred all Police officers who were in the town at the time of the attack on the Muslims in Mawanella.

But SLMC politicians say that this is a cosmetic measure and that Colombo should take immediate and tangible steps to identify the perpetrators and punish them.

Sri Lankan riot Police Thursday fired tear gas to disperse a procession by an ad hoc front formed by the Sinhala extremist group Sihala Urumaya in Maradana, a predominantly Muslim quarter of downtown Colombo. The front calling itself 'Apey Sinhala' (we Sinhalese) was stopped by special riot squads of the Police as soon as the procession began. Fearing the spread of anti-Muslim activities by Sinhala extremist groups and a section of its own members, Sri Lanka's ruling party imposed a ban on processions Thursday. (Photo: TamilNet)


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