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Army, Police clash with residents in Jaffna suburbs

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 October 2003, 08:22 GMT]
Widespread clashes erupted between Sri Lanka army and large crowds of angry residents in the Jaffna town suburbs of Gurunagar and Paashaiyoor Saturday morning. Three civilians were injured in the clashes that rapidly spread to all the neighbourhoods of these densely populated coastal suburbs, Police said. Four people and a Policeman were wounded when Police tried to break up a protest at Kondavil junction in the northern environs of the Jaffna town.

The clashes erupted and spread when a group of residents demanded the removal of an SLA camp in the northern town near the scene of an accident Friday night in which two youth were knocked down by a speeding military vehicle.

The northern town was tense as hundreds blocked road and junctions in protests against the SLA in Kondavil and Thinnevely .

Clashes in Jaffna

One of the youth who was killed Friday night was a resident of Annangkai in Kondavil. Protestors have blocked traffic in seven places in this area.

Meanwhile, in Paashaiyoor and Gurunagar, SLA troops and Police fought street-by-street, firing tear gas and live and rubber as crowds pelted them with bottles, stones and sticks.

The melee started when hundreds of people blocked traffic at the David Road – Tharmalingam Road junction Saturday morning, demanding the removal of an SLA camp there and condemning the military for the death of two young men who were killed Friday night in the accident with the army vehicle. The clash erupted when SLA soldiers assaulted persons in the crowd and in nearby shops.

Members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission rushed to the area and tried diffuse the tension by meeting the SLA officials at the Madathady camp. Soldiers from the camp assaulted a group of civilians in the presence of the monitors who accompanied the SLMM to the camp.

The angered crowd then began pelting the soldiers with stones. The clash spread down Main Street in Jaffna town as hundreds of locals joined the melee.

Clashes in Jaffna

“We have brought the main street under control”, a Police officer in Jaffna town told TamilNet around noon.

However, heavy clashes are continuing in the two suburbs, according to TamilNet correspondents in Jaffna town.

Clashes in Jaffna
Clashes in Jaffna
Youths gather near another blocked portion of road

Clashes in Jaffna
SLA and Sri Lanka police at the scene of protest
Clashes in Jaffna
Burning debris and road blocked near army bunker

Clashes in Jaffna
Stones spread around the blocked road and burning debris
Clashes in Jaffna
Protestors holding tear gas cannister


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