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2013 Aug 05

Video footage indicates clearly that the protests in Weliweriya on Thursday were anything but peaceful. The accompanying photographs reproduced here as screen shots from a video filmed by a private broadcast station indicate that persons dressed in civilian clothes carrying large poles beat up army personnel and provoked them.

The first photograph shows a man (circled right) aiming a blunt weapon (pole) at a soldier from behind. The next photograph shows youth carrying poles confronting army men in the background. The Police and army have claimed that these protesters also threw Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs) at them.

The Sunday Times political columnist makes reference to this claim though he is unable to verify independently that such weapons were used.

However, the photographs show clearly that violence was aimed at army personnel. The claims made by police about petrol bombs are, in that context, taken as credible by most political commentators, including the Sunday Island political columnist who has noted the use of petrol bombs.

All of these indicate that interested outsiders provoked the army. Hospital sources said that three civilians died as a result of the clash, but autopsy reports indicating the cause of death were not available at the time of going to press.
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