UN Secretary-General faces protests in Sri Lanka

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Colombo, Sep 1: UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is on a Sri Lanka visit focussed on reconciliation efforts, today faced a protest by around 50 people at the UN office here who questioned where was the world body during the LTTE insurgency.

At least two opposition groups handed over petitions to the UN Resident Coordinators office here protesting against the Secretary-General, who arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit focussed on reconciliation efforts.


This is Ban's second visit to the country since 2009, when the Lankan troops defeated Tamil Tigers, following which the country has come under close UN scrutiny for its warcrimes accountability.

Protesters held placards with messages like "Where were you, UN?" and have accused the world body of interfering in the country.

A handful of Buddhist monks representing the nationalist group 'Ravana Force' gathered opposite the UN compound defying a police order to protest while the Joint Opposition, the backers of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, too, handed over a petition.

"We urged the UNSG to stop interfering in Sri Lanka," Sisira Jayakodi, an opposition legislator and a Rajapaksa supporter, said.

Ban was in the compound at the time which was tightly guarded by the police to prevent demonstrators entering the premises.

He is scheduled to travel to the Sinhala-majority southern city of Galle later to attend a youth reconciliation event.

Tomorrow, he is set to visit Jaffna, the Tamil-dominated northern district and a former LTTE bastion, and inspect camps of persons displaced by the nearly three decade-long conflict.


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