State of emergency in Sri Lanka remains despite calm returning after violence
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Schools reopened on Monday in Sri Lanka and the government said they had arrested hundreds of people for participating in anti-Muslim . A remained in effect in the island nation which had been gripped by widespread violence which started in the . At least two people died. At least eleven mosques were reported torched and 200 homes and businesses burned when the violence was at its peak.
Police reported 230 arrests, both for direct involvement and for spreading anti-Muslim hate speech on the internet. Police said to expect more arrests in coming days. Lifting of the state of emergency was expected, according to Al Jazeera, but had not occurred as of Monday. Prime Minister visited over the weekend and told reporters victims will be compensated for damages.
Ever since a nearly three decade long civil war came to an end in 2009, relations between Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority and Sunni Muslim minority have remained tense, but largely peaceful until this month.
On March 4, in the village ofa traffic accident escalated into a fight wherein a group of young Muslim men beat a Buddhist man, who later died, according to Al Jazeera. On March 5, hundreds of Sinhalese, whom local residents and officials said were from outside the city, took to the streets of . The mob targeted Muslims' homes and businesses, setting several of them on fire. A Muslim man's dead body was found inside one of the burned buildings.
By March 6, the Sri Lankan government had declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew on the region. The emergency declaration by President Facebook, and were blocked for the entire country.allowed the army to be called into action. Nevertheless, the unrest and violence spread to several towns surrounding Kandy. Government officials surmised the rioters were coordinating their attacks at specific locations through social media. Internet access was cut off for the province, and social media including
"Technology created to bring people together is being used to pull people apart. Social media websites [...] have been used to destroy families, lives and private property," said, the Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, according to .
On March 7, the curfew was expanded to be around-the-clock after, officials said, a hand grenade went off while a man was carrying it and killed him as well as injuring at least eleven other people. Police said they identified a hardline Buddhist nationalist who posted an anti-Muslim video, which was thought to be a source of incitement, on social media. Reports of violence spread as far as, which is on the southern coast of the island, some 240 (150 ) south of Kandy.
The next day, Thursday, mobs of rioters burned shops and threwat a mosque as religiously-fueled violence continued. The government arrested, by their account, Amith Weerasinghe, a hardline Buddhist-nationalist known for his anti-Muslim sentiments, as the suspected main agitator behind the violence.
Friday prayers at mosques were conducted under heavy police protection, without incident according to authorities. Also on Friday, hundreds of protesters, including Buddhist monks, gathered in the capital cityand denounced the riots and violence. Saturday, President Sirisena announced an investigation of the violence in Kandy with a tribunal of retired judges. Kandy lifted curfew Saturday, but kept emergency powers in place.
Early Sunday morning, a restaurant in, was attacked despite heightened police presence, breaking a lull in violence since Thursday. Police arrested seven suspects in connection with the predawn petrol bomb attack on the restaurant. Meanwhile, in the Central Province, where the violence began over a week ago, the Chief Minister announced schools would reopen Monday after being closed during the violence last week.
- More than 230 arrested over communal clashes in Lanka" — , March 13, 2018. "
- Bernard Smith. "Sri Lanka slammed over response to anti-Muslim attacks" — , March 12, 2018 (Video)
- "Schools Reopen in Sri Lanka after State of Emergency" — , March 12, 2018
- "Residents and business community lend a hand to rebuild mob torched eatery in Anamaduwa" — , March 12, 2018
- "7 arrested over petrol bomb attack in Anamaduwa" — , March 12, 2018
- Fresh violence erupts in Lanka as Muslim-owned restaurant comes under attack" — , March 11, 2018. "
- Police investigate fresh anti-Muslim attack in Sri Lanka" — , March 11, 2018. "
- "Sri Lanka to probe anti-Muslim riots" — , March 11, 2018
- "Mosque, shops attacked in anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka" — , March 8, 2018
- Buddhist mobs sweep through Sri Lanka's Muslim neighbourhoods" — , March 8, 2018. "
- Zaheena Rasheed & Irfan Cader. "Sri Lanka 'on the brink' amid fresh anti-Muslim violence" — , March 8, 2018
- AP. "Anti-Muslim Attacks Continue in Sri Lanka Despite a State of Emergency" — , March 8, 2018
- Meera Srinivasan. "Muslim shops, buildings targeted again in Sri Lanka’s Kandy city" — , March 7, 2018