Mob turns on BBC crew, Muslim newspaper journalist detained by police
Crowds leaving the Bodu Bala Sena rally reacted angrily to a three member BBC film crew shooting in front of a Muslim-owned clothing store in Maharagama last evening and threatened them with violence, with police officers at the scene siding with the mob, crew members said.
Heeding the advice of the mob police barricaded the crew and prevented their car from leaving the site of the commotion, BBC Sri Lanka Correspondent Charles Haviland said. “The police stopped our car from leaving until a police superior came and dispersed the mob and let us go,” Haviland said.
Haviland said the BBC’s crew’s local members were verbally abused and that the mob behaviour was unsurprising but the conduct of the police had been extremely disturbing.
Meanwhile, a reporter from the Navamini newspaper, a Muslim publication covering the Bodu Bala Sena rally was harassed by the crowds and handed over to the Maharagama police at 4 p.m., the newspaper said. Police detained the reporter until 8:30 p.m. before releasing him.