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Last updated: 08 April, 2008 - Published 11:23 GMT
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JVP splits in two
Wimal Weerawnsa addressing soldiers as Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa looks on (Library photo)
10 JVP legislators are reported to be supporting Weerawansa faction
Two different groups of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) parliamentarian have publicly clashed at a press conference in the capital, Colombo.

One legislator was taken away by armed police from the press conference held by a dissident group of the JVP.

The dissident group was led by JVP parliamentary group leader and Propaganda Secretary, Wimal Weerawansa.

The venue of the press briefing was surrounded by riot police with armed vehicles as tension emerged between the groups.

Defector among dissidents

Ranaweera Pathirana, MP, who intially supported the group objected the dissident group publicly expressing their views.

As angry MPs looked on, he told journalists that differences within the party should be sorted out internally.

MP Ranaweera Pathirana at the press briefing (photo Gnanasiri Koththigoda)
MP Pathirana said differences should be resolved within

Piyasiri Wijenayaka, MP, addressing the media on behalf of Mr. Weerawansa said that 11 parliamentarians have decided to work separately from the party.

He alleged that the party was mistreating Mr. Weerawansa, who was regarded at the public face of the JVP.

In a special statement to the parliament, Wimal Weerawansa earlier said that the JVP has 'stabbed him from the back'.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political ally, the JVP, is contesting the Eastern elections separately.

While party leaders called for the disarmament of armed groups including the Pillayan faction, Mr. Weerawansa said those advocate disarming the TMVP 'should seek medical advice'.

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