Sri Lanka police use tear gas, batons to break up monks protest

Police fired tear gas and used batons for the second time in days to break up a protest by Buddhist monks opposed to government plans to enter into a tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tamil rebels, a witness said. Police fired tear gas and used batons for the second time in days to break up a protest by Buddhist monks opposed to government plans to enter into a tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tamil rebels, a witness said. Protestors from the National Monks’ Front were halted by anti-riot squads while marching toward President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s tightly-guarded residence here, a witness said.

“First they tear-gassed and used batons to beat up the protestors,” the witness said by mobile phone from the scene. “There were several monks staging a sit-down protest, but they are all gone now.”

Police used similar measures to disperse dozens of monks and lay supporters who blocked a main road to Kumaratunga’s residence here on Friday.

Riot police Monday also evicted monks protesting at Colombo railway station where a monk, Dhabara Amila, has been on a “death fast” since Saturday to protest Kumaratunga’s proposed move to enter into a tsunami aid deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).