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Sri Lankans besiege UN building

A minister and close ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa led hundreds of protesters to the UN office here on Tuesday, demanding that a panel set up by secretary general Ban Ki-moon to advise him on alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka be dissolved.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 00:51 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A minister and close ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa led hundreds of protesters to the UN office here on Tuesday, demanding that a panel set up by secretary general Ban Ki-moon to advise him on alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka be dissolved.

Construction and Housing minister Wimal Weerawansa, seen as a political hardliner led several hundred demonstrators, many of them from his National Freedom Front party to the entrance of UN headquarters in the capital Colombo and laid siege till evening.

Reports said at least one police personnel was assaulted as he tried to disperse the protesters. Daily Mirror online reported that Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe reached the protest venue outside the UN office early evening and was seen having discussions with Weerawansa amid protestors who remained in the area.

"We will hold a fast unto death until the withdrawal of Moon's panel," Weerawansa told the demonstrators, who had pushed past a small police contingent.

The demonstrators chanted "Hands off UN!" and burned an effigy of the secretary general.

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