Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lanka monks protest over police crackdown

Sri Lankan student Buddhist monks, also members of the People's Liberation Front, shout slogans outside the president's official residence during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, yesterday.Picture: AP
Saturday, June 4, 2011
SRI LANKA'S powerful Buddhist clergy demonstrated yesterday urging the president to restore rights of workers and students days after a violent police crackdown on a labor protest killed one factory worker.

About 400 monks marched peacefully in the capital, Colombo, carrying placards and banners before gathering opposite President Mahinda Rajapaksa's official residence where they protested the crackdown that led to clashes Monday wounding 200 more workers and police.

Traffic came to a standstill in some areas during yesterday's protest. Rev Kamburupitiye Gnanissara, a spokesman for an association of undergraduate monks, said the government has unleashed a campaign to suppress people who are fighting for their rights.

"The government is on a wrong path and we urge people to come to the streets and protest against the government's undemocratic acts," the monk said.

On Monday, police used tear gas and later fired live bullets to break up a protest over a government pension proposal, at the country's main industrial zone.

Sri Lanka's police chief resigned this week to take responsibility for the police conduct.AP

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