Updated: 06/16/2014 13:07 | By Agence France-Presse

Curfew in Sri Lanka resorts after Buddhist mob violence

Sri Lankan police extended a curfew in a popular tourist region Monday after at least 80 people were injured and dozens of Muslim-owned shops and homes torched when a Buddhist mob went on the rampage.


Curfew in Sri Lanka resorts after Buddhist mob violence

Sri Lankan police block a road in Colombo on December 11, 2013 - by Ishara S.Kodikara

Authorities said the curfew would stay in place for a second night running in the neighbouring resorts of Alutgama and Beruwala as community leaders accused police of doing little to contain Sunday night's violence.

"At least 80 people have been wounded and among them are some police officers too," a police source in the area told AFP by telephone.

"The situation is largely under control, but the curfew was extended as a precaution."

Local Muslims accused the police of failing to protect them when followers of the extremist Buddhist Force -- better known as BBS -- started setting fire to businesses after sunset on Sunday evening.

Police fired teargas and imposed a curfew but were unable to prevent several dozen shops and homes being attacked in the two predominantly Muslim towns, around 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of the capital Colombo.

Both areas are popular beach resorts frequented by international tourists, but there were no reports of any foreigners or hotels being caught up in the violence.

President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is currently visiting Bolivia, said in a statement that he would not allow "anyone to take the law into their own hands" and also urged "restraint".

Trouble began when the BBS held a rally to protest a road-rage incident involving a Buddhist monk and Muslim youngsters in the area on Thursday. Muslims allegedly pelted stones at the rally, triggering the riots.

The latest unrest came weeks after Muslim legislators asked Rajapakse to protect their community from "Buddhist extremist elements" blamed for a recent spate of hate attacks.

Muslims make up about 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 20 million population.

Nationalist Buddhist groups have in turn accused religious minorities of wielding undue political and economic influence on the island.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。