Social media blocked in Sri Lanka after unrest

Over 1,000 have been arrested since the attacks.Over 1,000 have been arrested since the attacks.
Social media blocked in Sri Lanka after unrest

The Sri Lankan government Monday blocked social media following rising tensions between the minority Muslims and majority Sinhalese in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings which killed nearly 260 people.

The blockade comes a day after Sri Lankan police imposedcurfew in the country's western coastal town of Chilaw where a mob attacked amosque and some shops owned by Muslims in a dispute that started on a Facebookpost by a Muslim shop owner.

The blockade of Facebook and WhatsApp has been imposed formmid night following violent incidents between the minority Muslim and majoritySinhalese communities, officials said.

Late in the evening on Sunday, the unrest spread toKuliyapitiya where a mosque and a few Muslim owned shops came under attack,prompting the authorities to impose curfew in the northwest town.

"The curfew imposed in Kuliyapitya and Chilaw has beenlifted," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

The majority nationalist groups have been active onFacebook, reviving calls for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and spreadinghate.

The voilence is a direct fallout from the Eastern Sunday'ssuicide bombings.

Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out aseries of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxuryhotels, killing 258 people and injuring over 500 others on April 21.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks,but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group, the NationalThawheed Jama'ath (NTJ), for the bombings.

Sri Lanka has previously blocked social media several timesafter the Eastern Sunday bombings to prevent the spread of false news reports.

The Sunday curfews came as Catholic churches held teir firstSunday mass amid tight security.

Addressing a service here, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith theArchbishop of Colombo, said everyone responsible for neglecting theintelligence and prior warnings on the attacks including the politicalleadership must be brought to book.

The security remained tight on Monday as another warning ofa possible attack later in the day was doing rounds.

The primary schools which did not open after the attacks resumedclasses Monday with low attendance.

The attendance of classes above grade 5 was very low.

Parents had refused to send their children to schoolsdespite repeated assurances from the security establishment that the threats ofmore attacks had been nullified.

Over 1,000 have been arrested since the attacks.

Sri Lanka's police say they have either killed or arrestedall those responsible for the bombings but that the threat of global terrorismpersists.

President Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to eliminate themilitants and restore normality in the country.

Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is apatchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhistmajority.

Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and arethe second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankansare Christians.

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