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26 protesters held outside Indian consulate in Hambantota

26 protesters held outside Indian consulate in Hambantota

COLOMBO: Twenty-six people were arrested after around 2,000 supporters of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) attempted to storm the Indian consul general’s office in Hambantota on Friday demanding that they did not want an ‘Indian colony’ in the island nation.

Although there were also slogans against China’s take over of the harbour, the wrath of the masses was mainly directed against India, with the crowd protesting against an alleged plan to “hand over” the Mattala international airport to India following the Hambantota port being “handed over” to China by the current Sirisena-Wickremsinghe government.

The demonstrators, led by MP Namal Rajapaksa and son of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were dispersed with the use of water cannons and teargas in what was seen as the first major crackdown on protesters after the national unity government took reins of the country in 2015.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2017

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