Sri Lanka, Fishermen stage tsunami protest

"What happened to the money the foreigners gave?" read one banner carried by protesters. One protest leader was detained by police.


Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - More than 1,000 fishermen have been protesting against the government in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, 300 days after the Asian tsunami

The protestors allege the government has not done enough to help rebuild their industry. They are also demanding access to the billions promised in foreign donations.

"We are not from any political party, we are just fishermen trying to tell the government to help us," said L Jayatilleke, one of the organizers of the protest.

Many fishermen have not been able to resume their trade due to the imposition of a minimum 100 metre buffer zone to prevent rebuilding close to the shore. Although that has now been reduced to 15 metres, it has seriously delayed reconstruction efforts.

The protesting fishermen accuse the government of inactivity.

"What happened to the money the foreigners gave," read one banner carried by protesters, referring to the promised five billion dollars in foreign assistance. They said they had seen little of the billions that had been promised. One protest leader was detained by police.

Over 30,000 people died in the disaster in Sri Lanka alone and millions were made homeless. Last year's killer waves killed over 7,000 fishermen and destroyed more than 22,000 fishing boats in Sri Lanka alone.

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