Mob attacks Sri Lankan opposition protest

The protesters were marching to demand the release of Fonseka from jail.

Colombo: A mob armed with clubs attacked opposition protesters on Friday who were marching to demand the release of Sri Lanka`s defeated presidential candidate from jail.

Opposition lawmakers and their supporters were heading toward a prison in the capital of Colombo when they came under attack. Photographers covering the protest were beaten and their cameras smashed, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was seriously injured.

Sri Lanka`s former Army commander Sarath Fonseka is serving a 30-month prison term after being convicted of corruption. His supporters allege he is being punished by the government for daring to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa in last year`s election.

Rajapaksa and Fonseka were once allies in fighting the country`s civil war and were hailed as heroes by many Sri Lankans for defeating the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, ending a civil war that lasted a quarter-century.

They fell out soon after, though, and Fonseka resigned from the Army to contest the January 2010 Presidential Election.

He was arrested weeks after his defeat on allegations he was plotting a coup but was later charged in a military court with corruption and planning his political career while still in the Army.

Bureau Report

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