Sri Lankan hardline Buddhists say Facebook accounts blocked after violence
Buddhist activists accused of involvement in violence against Sri Lanka’s minority Muslims said on Friday that accounts of their group’s members on social media site Facebook had been blocked.
Clashes erupted on June 15 in Aluthgama and Beruwela, two towns with large Muslim populations on the island’s southern coast, during a protest march led by the hardline group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or “Buddhist Power Force”.
Many residents of the towns, thronged by tourists, said BBS activists had made inflammatory statements against Muslims at a rally before the violence. Much of the coast is dominated by Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhist Sinhalese community.
The group denies any connection with the incidents, in which three people died and 75 were injured.
“My account is blocked,” BBS spokesman Dilantha Vithanage told Reuters by telephone. “I can’t access my account. I last visited my account on June 25 and the accounts of others have also been blocked.”
Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, a Buddhist monk and the BBS secretary general, who addressed the rally, also said his account had been blocked.
“I have created another account,” he said.
– by Ranga Sirilal in Colombo and Eric Auchard in London