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Sri Lankan police launch tear gas at Tamil fishermen

Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force launched tear gas at Tamil fishermen, leaving at least one person hospitalised in Mullaitivu.

The Special Task Force was deployed and tear gas fired, as mobs linked to illegal fishing activities reportedly attempted to attack demonstrators, who had been raising the issue in a protest campaign this week. A heavy security presence remains in place.

Tensions flared as a mob accused to be engaging in illegal fishing activites, with the support of Sri Lankan government officials, attempted to attack the protestors. Many of the mob were reported to be fishermen from outside of Mullaitivu, with allegations that some of them were under the influence of alcohol. 

As the group purportedly engaged in the illegal fishing attempted to march towards the protestors, Sri Lankan police and the STF were deployed.

Tear gas was fired, with both groups allegedly injured, as officers beat them back with batons.

The events come following three days of peaceful demonstrations by the Mullaitivu District Fishermen's Federation who have continued their campaign outside the office of the Sri Lankan government’s fisheries and aquatic resources department.

They have been joined by at least 24 different fishing associations, as they demonstrated against illegal fishing activities in the region.

Read more here: ‘Stop your illegal fishing’ – Mullaitivu fishermen speak out against Sri Lankan government

The police crackdown comes despite the presence of school children who participated in the demonstration alongside their parents today. Estimates place the number of demonstrators at the protest over 300.


With no solution being offered by Sri Lankan officials, one group of frustrated fishermen even set fire to a boat, in protest over the lack of action.

More to follow.

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