2ND LEAD:

Crowds block Sri Lanka army garrisons in Chavakachcheri

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 March 2005, 06:06 GMT]
Crowds blocked Sri Lanka army (SLA) camps in Chavakachcheri with burning tires and logs Saturday in protest against the military for tear gassing and damaging property in the northern peninsula’s second largest town. Protestors stopped military traffic on the A9 highway through Chavakachcheri. Some set fire to two military sentry points in the town. Troubles erupted in this key town when a civilian was hit and wounded by a speeding Sri Lanka army vehicle Friday afternoon. SLA troops and Police tear gassed to disperse a crowd that tried to set fire to the vehicle. Two civilians were wounded Saturday afternoon when riot Police charged a restive crowd in Chavakachcheri.

Rioting crowds threw stones at army camps in the town as talks to resolve the issue failed. A crowd that tried to storm a paramilitary group's camp in the town was stopped by riot Police squads. Another group of protestors threw on the Police tear gas cannisters which they picked up before explosion. Rioters milled about in the town although Police and army units fired in the air and tear gassed crowds.

The injured men, Mr. Kandasamy Kumarakuruparan, 25, of Mirusuvil and Mr. Selvarasah Ahilan, 31, of Kachchai Road were admitted to hospital.

Protestors blocked the main entrance of the SLA’s main garrison in Chavakachcheri at Post Office Road Junction. One group of civilians prevented the army from moving out of its camp on Kachchai Road while another blocked the road to the SLA’s Thanangkilappu high security zone.

Chavakachcheri residents allege that Police and military attacked civilians and damaged property during protests over the accident Friday.

Nordic truce monitors, the Liberation Tigers and Sri Lanka Police are trying to resolve the problem peacefully, sources in Chavakachcheri said.

 

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