Cablegate: Sri Lanka Demonstration Activity
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS COLOMBO 000547
DEPT FOR DS/IP/SA, DS/DSS/ITA, DS/ICI/PII, DSERCC and SA/INS
EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES FOR RSOS
E.O.12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PTER CASC CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA DEMONSTRATION ACTIVITY
1. (U) On March 28, 2003, approximately 2000 people
protested the U.S. position on Iraq. The demonstration was
organized by the left-wing JVP political party, but
according to the police, principally attended by Sri Lankan
Muslims. The protesters were given permission to congregate
no further than a site approximately one kilometer from the
Embassy. The group did, however, exceed the permissible
protest area and attempted to march to the Emabassy.
2. (U) The police prevented the demonstrators from
approaching the Chancery. As the crowd did not readily
respond to police instructions, the police used water
cannons and dispensed 15 canisters of tear gas to force the
crowd to disperse. According to the Deputy Inspector
General of Police (DIG) present at the scene, one of the
canisters did not detonate and was thrown back at the police
where the gas was released. The DIG was slightly injured and
was taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
3. (U) The Embassy also received unconfirmed reports of
demonstrations in at least six other locations in the
country. No violence was reported and no reliable numbers
4. (U) Post continues to closely monitor demonstration
activity - particularly to see if numbers grow and violence
begins to permeate.