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Tensions as Sri Lankan navy deploys troops to intimidate land-grab protesters in Mullaitivu

The Sri Lankan navy deployed dozens of troops in response to a protest against a mass land-grab in the Vadduvakal area.

After efforts were stepped up to permanently seize 617 acres of Tamil-owned land for the ‘Gotabhaya Navy Base’, a process initiated with a gazette in 2017 but was stalled due to heavy local opposition and protest, land surveyors arrived in the area at 7am on Thursday morning.

The affected landowners were joined by locals and politicians who protested demanding the officials call off the planned survey. Since protesters blocked the entrance to the navy camp, the navy attempted to take the surveyors in through an alternative route. However protesters further blocked the Mullaitivu-Paranthan main road.

Dozens of navy police with riot shields, local police officers and intelligence officers were deployed to the area, causing tensions as police aggressively manhandled protesters, and navy and intelligence personnel photographed and intimidated them.

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