52 arrested, 21 remanded after Hambantota clash

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Police have arrested 52 people over the clash that took place in Hambantota this morning when crowds gathered to protest the opening of the Sri Lanka – China Logistics and Industrial Zone (SLCLIZ).

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang opened the SLCLIZ this morning and security was stepped up in the area with Anti-Riot squads coming in from Colombo in anticipation of dissent.

A court order was also issued yesterday barring demonstration or protest in selected areas and against 26 selected people including Hambantota MP Namal Rajapaksa to ensure the opening of the SLCLIZ went without a hitch.

Despite these measures, protestors converged in Hambantota however and clashed with each other and the Police, hurling rocks and injuring over 20. Tear gas and water cannons were used to ease the situation.

Police have vowed a crackdown on perpetrators and 52 have been arrested in the aftermath of the clashes. They were produced in court and 21 and have been remanded.  Police say special operations are continuing to arrest other troublemakers.