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Angry locals attack police in east

Angry mobs attacked police stations in Valaichennai, Samanthurai and Potuvil in Sri Lanka’s east on Thursday and Friday respectively, ColomboPage reported.

See reports here and here.

Predominantly, Valaichennai is inhabitated by Tamils, Samanthurai and Potuvil by Muslims.

Police fired tear gas to contain a volatile situation erupted following a demonstration in Pottuvil town in Amparai district Friday.

One person was shot dead and a curfew was imposed until 6am Saturday.

The demonstrators were demanding the release of four persons arrested by security forces in connection with an incident where two police officers were assaulted and a jeep was damaged.

Police deployed additional squads and Army personnel were called in to control the demonstration.

On Thursday night, Samanthurai police station, also in Amparai district, came under a stone attack by people of the area.

They were angry over police failure to arrest persons they had identified as persons they identified as 'grease devils'.

(Historically, a 'grease devil' was a thief who wore only underwear and covered his body in grease to make himself difficult to grab if chased. But lately it refers to a nighttime prowler who frightens and attacks women. See Reuters' report here).

On Thursday, a protest in Valaichennai (Batticaloa district) closed government offices, shops and other business places.

It came after a group of people clashed with police a day earlier over a man suspected of attacking a woman.

The villagers first handed over the suspect to police, but later demanded he be handed back for punishment. Police refused.

Mobs threw stones at the police station, injuring four policemen and three civilians. A bus and a police vehicle were also damaged.

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