Sri Lanka beefs up security for Pakistan series

July 1, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has stepped up security for the visiting Pakistan team and slapped new restrictions at match venues, officials said Wednesday. Fireworks, musical bands, glass bottles, tin cans, sharp objects, laser pointers and mirrors have all been banned from the grounds where the matches are slated to be played.

“Other than national flags of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, no banners, posters and discriminating slogans will be allowed,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said.

The series comes about a month after Sri Lanka ended a bloody, four-decade ethnic war against Tamil Tiger rebels.

“We are not taking any chances,” police spokesman senior superintendent Ranjith Gunasekara told AFP.

“We want to avoid a Lahore,” he said, referring to a gun and grenade attack on the Sri Lankan team by militants in March outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan.

Pakistan’s three-day warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Cricket XI in Colombo that ends Wednesday saw hundreds of police commandos sealing off the ground while spectators were thoroughly frisked.

The first of the three Tests begins on July 4, followed by five one-day interna