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Last updated: 09 January, 2009 - Published 16:40 GMT
 
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Media attacks by 'army intelligence'
 
Protest by media groups in Colombo (photo: Elmo Fernando)
Protesters say authorities are violating the right of Sri Lanka public to express a different opinion

The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused sections of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) of carrying out attacks on media.

Leader of the opposition and the United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickramasinghe, said many SLA personnel are "appalled" by the actions of a few.

"Security forces say that the whole country will be destroyed by the actions of a small group in the intelligence unit," he told the parliament amidst disturbances by the ruling party members.

'Next threat to Government'

Adding that the group is out of control from the government, Mr. Wickramasinghe warned not only the media and the opposition but even the members of the government will also come under attack by the said group.

Ranil Wickramasinghe
UNP leader accused the 'army intelligence' for attacks on media

The editor of Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen on Thursday in Colombo.

He was a strong critic of Mahinda Rajapaksa government and exposed corruption in the administration and the military.

The UNP leader said he will call for an international investigation into the killing.

A private television network, MTV-MBC, was attacked by gunmen on early morning Tuesday.

Mr. Wickramasinghe earlier told a public gathering that the attackers were in possession of 8.5kg claymore bomb and T56 automatic rifles.

Protest by media groups and activists in Colombo (photo: Elmo Fernando)
Protesters says government should take responsibility for attacks

He questioned as to how attackers carrying such weapons travel to the venue and carried out an attack for hours without the blessings of the authorities.

Hundreds of protesters, meanwhile, gathered in Colombo, to protest the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga.

Police have erected barriers to prevent media rights activists, trade unionists and opposition politicians marching forward from Lake House roundabout.

Sanath Balasuriya, president of Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, told BBC Sandeshaya that the country is facing a "dangerous situation".

"They are violating the right of Sri Lanka public have to express a different opinion to the authorities," he said.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
US, UK, India condemn attacks
09 January, 2009 | Sandeshaya
"Government is responsible" says Ranil
08 January, 2009 | Sandeshaya
SLBC censors BBC reports
08 January, 2009 | Sandeshaya
Lasantha shot dead
08 January, 2009 | Sandeshaya
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