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Sri Lanka blocks social media amid riots

Staff Writer | March 7, 2018
Sri Lanka barred social messaging networks to stem violence against minority Muslims after mob attacks continued despite the imposition of emergency on the Buddhist-majority island.
Sri Lanka riots
Asia   To stem violence against minority Muslims
Police declared a curfew until 4 p.m. (1130 GMT) Thursday in the central highlands district of Kandy, the epicenter of the violence since Sunday in the wake of the death of a Buddhist youth in an altercation with a group of Muslims.

Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and businesses belonging to Muslims overnight, residents told Reuters on Wednesday, even after President Maithripala Sirisena decreed an emergency for seven days to control the violence.

Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalizing Buddhist archaeological sites. Muslims deny this.

Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.