They demand justice in Sri Lanka for the 2019 attacks | News
Hundreds of people in Sri Lanka protested this Sunday near the office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the Asian country that left more than 260 dead.
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The protesters demanded that the government uncover what they called the real conspirators behind the attacks on three churches, two Catholic and one Protestant, which included simultaneous suicide bombings during the Easter celebrations on April 21, 2019.
On that same date, they also attacked three tourist hotels, killing 42 foreigners from 14 countries.
On Sunday, hundreds of people lit candles and held up banners during a silent protest in the capital Colombo, calling for justice for the victims of the attacks.
The demonstrations took place on the main concourse in Colombo, where thousands of people have been protesting for eight days, demanding the resignation of the president of the Indian Ocean island nation.
The demonstrators, including relatives of the victims, accused the government of failing to do justice.
They unfurled a huge banner that read: “Three years have passed, we cry out for justice” and other banners that read: “Who was behind this attack?”
Authorities charged dozens of people who allegedly received weapons training and participated in indoctrination classes from the two local Islamic extremist groups accused of carrying out the attacks.
The groups had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Frictions between the country’s former president and former prime minister – who belonged to different political parties – were blamed on the government’s inaction on intelligence warnings.
The Sri Lankan Catholic Church has also criticized the investigation into the bombings. The church has repeatedly blamed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government for failing to take action against former President Maithripala Sirisena and other top officials for failing to prevent the attacks.
Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said the real plotters in the attacks may still be at large and questioned the government over allegations that some members of state intelligence knew of and had met with at least one attacker.
The protesters joined other anti-government protesters who have been staying in tents around the president’s office and vowed not to leave until President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns.
The island nation is facing an unprecedented economic crisis caused, in part, by the country’s heavy debt, the economic downturn during the pandemic, and a drastic drop in tourism activity.