Sri Lanka's Government Plans to Block Social Networks Amid Unrest

08 March, 2018, 03:47 | Author: Orlando Hughes
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Eye witnesses on the ground said the police were forced to fire in the air on Tuesday night to disperse mobs who took to the streets, defying the curfew and state of emergency.

"I have ordered that the full force of the law be used against trouble makers", Sirisena said.

Schools in Kandy, which is about 115 kilometres from Colombo, remained closed on Wednesday.

"Although the police imposed curfew to control the situation, things have not settled", Hakeem said.

Meanwhile, Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando has confirmed access to certain social media websites and phone messaging applications are being restricted from today under extraordinary measures as a temporary response to limit the increasing spread of hate speech and violence.

"Soon after the local government elections came to an end, a wave of violence has started, especially in the Ampara and Kandy districts".

He has also given special instructions to the police and the tri-forces to take action in terms of these regulations, in a lawful manner in good faith, while ensuring minimum disturbance to the life and well-being of people, in conformity with Fundamental Human Rights of people, the statement concluded.

"The state of emergency may include curfews in specific locations", the United Kingdom government said on its website. Global Affairs Canada advised Canadians to "comply with security instructions of local authorities, avoid large gatherings and monitor local media for the latest developments'".

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Yet, barely five years later in 2014, Singhalese- Muslim riots spread nearly all over the country.

Earlier yesterday, the body of a Muslim youth was found in a burnt-out shop, police said.

The Sinhalese are a mainly Buddhist ethnic group, making up almost three-quarters of Sri Lanka's 21 million people. Muslims make up about 10 percent of the island's almost 22 million population.

There was no immediate estimate of the damage from Wednesday's arson attacks.

In Parliament, 11 Muslim MPs led by cabinet minister Rishard Bathiudeen sat in the Well of the House, seeking government's assurance on protecting Muslims across the country.

Area residents said mobs swept through at least two towns in the central hills, attacking two mosques and a string of Muslim-owned shops and buildings.

In June 2014, an anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots.

While government officials have not directly accused Buddhist extremists of being behind the violence, many comments appeared aimed at them.



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