Low-key May Day celebrations in Sri Lanka
The May Day holiday in Sri Lanka was marked with low-key celebrations Thursday due to tight security, with two of the main political parties deciding to curtail their activities, party sources said, dpa reported.
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe called off its planned procession and rally due to security concerns. Instead the party planned to hold a religious function in a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital to mark the event.
Earlier in the day the party commemorated the anniversary of the death of former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was also the UNP leader, killed in a suicide bomb attack by Tamil rebels at a May Day procession in 1993.
The Marxist JVP (People's Liberation Front) cancelled its procession due to security reasons and held only a meeting in the capital Colombo.
The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was holding its May Day rally in a town in the eastern province where the government will conduct a provincial election on May 10. The May Day celebration turned into a campaign rally of the party.
In rest of the country only small, low-key May Day celebrations were held.
In the northern part of the country two police commandos and 17 Tamil rebels were reported killed in clashes since Wednesday.
The two police commandos were killed in Kebithigollewa, 190 kilometres north of the capital, on Thursday morning, and in a retaliatory attack two rebels were killed in the same area.
Fifteen more rebels were killed in sporadic incidents in Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts.