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Sri Lankan protests over court martial of Fonseka

[AFP, Tuesday, 23 March 2010 13:33 No Comment]

YAotyrUw Sri Lankan opposition groups demonstrated in Colombo on Tuesday demanding the release of former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who attempted to unseat the president in recent elections.

Hundreds of activists from the JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, which backed Fonseka’s failed bid for the presidency, shouted anti-government slogans outside the main railway station.

On Monday dozens of unidentified men pelted stones at an independent television station in Colombo in what was thought to be a politically motivated attack before next month’s parliamentary elections.

The latest protests came ahead of another court martial hearing against the detention of Fonseka after he lost the presidential election to incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse.

Fonseka, who led the military to victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels last year, fell out with Rajapakse and the two became bitter political foes.

Court martial hearings are due to open on April 6, two days ahead of parliamentary elections at which Fonseka is a candidate from the Democratic National Alliance, a party backed by the JVP.

Fonseka entered politics after quitting the military in November, six months after the separatist Tamil rebels were finally crushed after decades of ethnic bloodshed on the island.

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