10/05/2012, 00.00
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Sri Lanka, 600 Buddhists attack the Bangladesh embassy

by Melani Manel Perera
The extremist group Bodu Bala Sena ("Powerful Buddhist Force") protested the attacks in Bangladesh by Muslims, who destroyed temples and houses of the Buddhist community. The protesters threw stones and bottles filled with water. No injuries.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - A group of Buddhists attacked the Bengali embassy in Colombo, during a protest against the violence in Bangladesh against the Buddhist community. More than 600 people - mostly monks - participated in the event yesterday, organized by the extremist group Bodu Bala Sena ("Powerful Buddhist Force"). Once in front of the offices, some threw rocks and bottles filled with water, breaking the windows, but without attacking or hitting the officials inside. The police intervened to disperse the protesters. For the moment, only one man has been arrested.

Kirama Wimaljothi Thero, President of Bodu Bala Sena, explained: "We condemn the attack that has occurred against the embassy and express our closeness to the officials who work there: they are innocent people who have nothing to do with what happened. But we urge the Bangladesh government to take immediate action." The organization is requesting that the destroyed temples and houses be rebuilt as soon as possible.

Between September 29 and 30, a crowd of 25,000 Muslims attacked the Buddhist communities of the  upazila  (sub-districts) of Ramu, Ukhia, Patia and Teknaf (Chittagong Division, southeast). The attackers destroyed 24 temples (22 Buddhist and two Hindu) and set fire to hundreds of homes, forcing people to flee. Triggering the attack was the diffusion on Facebook of a photo defaming the Koran, posted by a young Buddhist. However,  AsiaNews  sources claim that behind the violence there is the problem of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority originating from Myanmar Rakhine State, which allegedly used the occasion to draw attention to their plight as a persecuted group. In June, groups of Muslim Rohingya were attacked by Buddhists in the same region.




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