Sri Lanka protesters block British TV crew travel to north
Colombo: Protesters in north central Sri Lanka today blocked a train carrying the crew of the British TV Channel 4 that aired documentaries highlighting alleged human rights violations in the country, forcing them to abandon the trip.
The protest took place at Anuradhapura, capital city of North Central Province.
The crew was taking the north-bound train from here heading to Vavuniya and were believed to be travelling to the former LTTE territory of Kilinochchi.
Channel 4 has come under fire over its a series of documentaries which highlighted alleged human rights abuses by Lankan military during final stages of conflict with the LTTE.
A vociferous group of protesters, including Buddhist monks, held placards accusing the channel of acting as agents of the LTTE.
They blocked the train from proceeding for nearly two hours.
Finally, the police arrived on the scene and convinced the crew to abandon the northern trip and return to Colombo.
The Channel 4 team faced a protest at the international airport here on Monday when they arrived ahead of this week`s Commonwealth summit.
Some of the Sinhala majority nationalist groups have called for their expulsion from the country.
Presidential officials said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday invited the Channel 4 crew to have tea with him when its producer Jonathan Miller encountered him with questions as he was leaving the Commonwealth Business Forum.
Sri Lanka had vehemently protested against Channel 4 documentaries which it claims were fabrications to tarnish the country`s image.
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