Sri Lanka eases check points in capital

October 27, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka said Wednesday it would begin dismantling a dozen permanent military check points in the capital which are a legacy of decades of ethnic conflict on the island nation. Two permanent road blocks on the southwestern edge of Colombo will be removed Wednesday and 10 other similar points will be gradually eased, the government information department said.

“It has become possible to dismantle the permanent check points with the improved security situation. The permanent road blocks will be replaced with alternate surveillance such as snap road blocks,” a department spokesman said.

It was not clear what will happen to dozens of other check points across the country, where troops armed with automatic assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades stand guard behind sand-filled bags or heavy metal barricades.

In a sign of the changing role of the check points and atmosphere in the country, some check points had started featuring advertising space targeting motorists who are routinely held up while their vehicles are searched.

Sri Lankan troops wiped out the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May last year following a no-holds-barred mil