Colombo: High-handed behaviour of a Sri Lankan minister who allegedly threatened a magistrate has prompted protests by the legal fraternity, with courts in the country being paralaysed on Friday.
Lawyers and judges stayed away from attending courts in protest of the commerce and industries minister Rishat Bathiyutheen`s alleged telephone threat to the magistrate in the northeastern town of Mannar.
A mob led by Bathiyutheen`s supporters on Wednesday surrounded the Mannar court and pelted debris at the court premises causing damages to the building.
Police used tear gas to disperse the mob.
"Our 11000 strong membership decided to launch the protest today. We urge the police to take action against the culprits", Wijedasa Rajapaksha, chief of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and an opposition legislator, said.
Police spokesman, superintendent Ajith Rohana, said that at least 14 people had been arrested for rioting against the Mannar court.
Bathiyutheen is alleged to have threatened the judge to relax a previous order.
The BASL said they would file contempt of court litigation against Bathiyutheen.