Sri Lanka lifts state of emergency

Sri Lanka lifts state of emergency

Sri Lanka has lifted a state of emergency imposed on 6 March in response to an outbreak of violence against Muslim communities. Two people were killed, nearly 450 Muslim-owned homes and shops damaged and 60 vehicles burnt in attacks in the central district of Kandy.

Curfews and social media bans were brought in to try and quell tension. Violence has risen in the Buddhist-majority country since 2012, said to be fuelled by hard-line Buddhist groups.

They have accused Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites. Dozens of Muslim religious sites have also been damaged.

Police have so far arrested almost 300 people, including a hardline Buddhist organisation leader they suspect of inciting the violence. Under the state of emergency, Sri Lankan authorities were able to arrest and detain suspects for long periods if they deemed it necessary.

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