The US Embassy in Colombo yesterday expressed its “great concern” about reports of attacks on students in Jaffna, after clashes reportedly erupted at the Jaffna University on Tuesday when security forces personnel entered the campus to disrupt a Heroes Day commemoration being held by students inside.
In a statement released yesterday, the US Embassy said it was concerned about recent threats to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. “The November 28 beating of a reporter in Jaffna, harassment by Government of Sri Lanka officials of independent media outlets, and searches without warrants of journalists all serve to stifle media freedom.,” the Embassy statement said.
“Additionally, the Embassy is greatly concerned about reports of attacks on students in Jaffna. We call upon authorities to exercise restraint and respect peaceful demonstrations,” it said. An editor of the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna was also assaulted during the clash, reports from the area said. However the military has denied the clashes saying it only attempted to restrain people throwing stones.