Hundreds of Tamils from across the North-East travelled to Kanniya in Trincomalee to protest the destruction of a Hindu temple to make way for a Buddhist vihara. Several protesters were obstructed and blocked en route by Sri Lankan army and police, while some were assaulted by Sinhalese as security forces watched on.

The protest was planned for July 16 following the destruction of the ancient Hindu temple by the Kanniya hot wells, a place of spiritual significance for Tamils which has become disputed due to the Sri Lankan state’s Sinhalisation of the Trincomalee district, especially its historic and touristic sites.

Sri Lankan police had obtained a court injunction against the protest from the Trincomalee magistrate’s court, by arguing that the protest would cause communal tensions. With...