Monday, March 22, 2010


Hundreds of people stormed the head office of Sri Lanka's largest private broadcaster on Monday and hurled stones at the building, smashing windows and damaging parked cars, witnesses said.

The attack by an estimated 200 people on the pro-opposition network came as the campaign for parliamentary polls on April 8 hots up.

Witnesses also said the attackers shouted slogans against the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television (MBC/MTV) Network's sponsorship of a concert by R&B singer Akon next month. Many people in the Buddhist-majority nation say a recent music video starring Akon defames the Buddha.

Officials at MBC/MTV, which runs three TV and four radio stations from its headquarters in central Colombo, said four employees were injured.

"The entire head office came under attack and our guys got hit with rocks," Chevaan Daniel, the head of news at MBC/MTV, told Reuters at the scene.

The network aired visuals of the attack, clearly showing people throwing stones at the building.

Prashantha Jayakody, a police spokesman, said he was not aware of the incident.

A Reuters reporter saw some attackers being dragged away by police amid shattered glass outside of the office and damaged vehicles.

© Reuters

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