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June 4, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military tightened security ahead of the funeral Saturday of a protester killed while demonstrating against a controversial pensions bill earlier in the week, officials said.

Authorities blocked large gatherings of mourners at the home of slain factory worker Roshen Ratnasekera, witnesses said, adding that troops had also shifted his coffin to a church to speed up the funeral service.

“The cortege was supposed to leave the home in the afternoon but troops came in and removed the coffin during the morning,” a witness told AFP from the victim’s home outside the capital Colombo.

Mourning factory workers were prevented from entering the area in buses as the authorities feared large crowds could spark rioting, security officials said.

Heavily-armed troops remained deployed at a nearby free trade zone where Ratnasekera was shot and wounded along with over 150 men and women. He died at a hospital on Wednesday.

On Friday, hundreds of Buddhist monks marched to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s tightly-guarded official residence in Colombo and staged a sit-down demonstration demanding action over the police firing at protesting workers.

The government had propo

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