Vavuniya fuel protest concludes

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 August 1998, 12:47 GMT]
The 5-day long public protest against the Sri Lankan government's permitsystem for fuel sales in Vavuniya, concluded today said sources. Apart froma short period on Wednesday, shops and businesses in Vavuniya remainedclosed and transport was severely reduced they said.

The strike, organised by the PLOTE and EPRLF, was relaxed on Wednesday to

enable people to buy food and other essential items.

During the week, there had been little sign of vehicles on the streets

except for bicycles. Some public transport buses ran, as the Sri Lankan

military had given strict orders to the bus-workers to report to work. It

was also reported that the tyres of three of these buses were punctured

deliberately.

Apart from the shops being closed, only few office workers reported for

duty, and students also attended exams.

Sources said that Sri Lankan Army troops attacked some shop owners and

workers to force them to open their premises injuring several people.

Police sources reported that they had arrested two persons for "disrupting

public movement". It was later reported that these persons were members of

the PLOTE.

The PLOTE maintains several armed camps in Vavuniya, and its cadres, who

operate with the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), are concentrated in the northern

town. Vavuniya is also a garrison town of the SLA.

The Sri Lankan government's rationing of fuel has provoked anger and dismay

amongst Vavuniya's residents, which, according to PLOTE sources has

resulted in a successful protest strike.

 

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