22 March 2018

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10/13/2017 SRI LANKA

Rajapaksa’s son arrested for protesting sale of airport named after his father

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport was funded by a Chinese loan. It is one of the world’s least used airports, servicing just one flight a day. India would have offered US 0 million for the purchase.

Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Sri Lankan police arrested Namal Rajapaska, son of the island's former dictator . He was arrested on 10 October along with other 28 people. He is accused for leading an unlawful protest against the sale of the international airport named after his father to an Indian company in Hambantota, 240 kilometres south of capital Colombo.

Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera said the eldest son of Mahinda Rajapaksa had violated a court order banning street protests and damaged public property. Video footage released on social media showed Rajapaksa chanting anti-India slogans outside the consulate’s offices. Hundreds of protesters tried to break through barricades but police fired water cannon to stop them reaching the diplomatic compound.

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport was built under rule of the former president-dictator and was funded by a Chinese loan. It is one of several state-owned works labelled as “white elephants” by the population that were and have never turned a profit. In particular it is one of the world’s least used airports, servicing just one flight a day.

The new government of president Maithripala Sirisena offered to sell the structure, and it is said that the Indian authorities would have offered US 0 million for the purchase. In July Colombo handed over to China the most of the port in Hambantota, although protests and demonstrations by local residents afraid that they would be forced out to make room for Beijing's megaprojects.

See also

16/07/2008 SRI LANKA
Tight security arrangements as Sri Lanka gets ready to host SAARC Summit
For the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit Colombo takes stringent security measures to prevent violence. City and airport are under tight controls; railways stations are closed; and shanty towns near the city centre are evacuated.

17/08/2010 SRI LANKA
The port of Hambantota, crucial for “the prosperity of the nation”
President Rajapaksa inaugurated the new port on Sunday, the start of an ambitious development plan to turn Sri Lanka into an East-West trade hub. Funding for the project came from Beijing, which is very active in the island nation.

08/05/2009 SRI LANKA
Not every Tamil is a fighter, says Anglican bishop
Rev Duleep de Chickera writes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, demanding “a just and speedy political response to the grievances of Tamils”. He warns of the danger of placing “an entire community” forever “under surveillance.”

02/11/2007 SRI LANKA
Head of Tamil Tigers’ political wing killed
Leader is killed in air raid launched by government air force this morning. Fear mounts that it could lead to escalation. A recent report by Sri Lanka’s Law & Society Trust notes that five people are killed or disappear every day in Sri Lanka as a result of the ongoing conflict.

09/01/2015 SRI LANKA
Maithripala Sirisena is the new president of Sri Lanka
The elections' outsider defeated the closing head of State Rajapaksa with a majority of 51.28%. His promise: to reduce president's powers and come back to a parliamentary democracy.

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