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Sri Lankan police detain 13 fasting Buddhist monks

Sri Lankan police detain 13 fasting Buddhist monks

Police on Monday detained 13 Buddhist monks holding a hunger strike outside the country's main railway station to demand the release of Sri Lanka's opposition leader, a police spokesman said.
Four monks began their fast Sunday to demand the government release ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka. He was arrested and court-martialed after challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa's re-election bid earlier this year. Other monks were also protesting alongside them at a bus stop outside the railway station in the capital Colombo.
Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said a court order required the monks to move from the area, but they stayed so police had to detain them. Police also received complaints that their protest inconvenienced passengers and the general public, Jayakody said. They will be produced before courts later Monday, he said.
But a lawyer for the monks, Nuwan Bopage, said there had been no such court order. He said the monks were forcibly removed from the area that is often used by activists for protests.
Rajapaksa and Fonseka were once strong allies in their campaign to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels and end their 25-year armed campaign for an independent state. After routing the rebels last May, both men were hailed as heroes by the country's Sinhalese majority.
But the two quickly turned on each other and Fonseka quit the army to lead the opposition.


Updated : 2020-11-30 04:38 GMT+08:00