Speed Reads


Sri Lanka blocks social media to slow Buddhist-organized attacks on Muslim minority

Sri Lanka's government blocked several social media platforms Wednesday in an effort to regain control over the country's recent outbreak of sectarian violence. The government declared a state of emergency Tuesday after deadly violence continued between Buddhists and Muslims.

Networks including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Viber were blocked, and officials imposed a nightly curfew in Kandy, the country's central district. The government restricted access to social networks in a targeted attempt to prevent the spread of anti-Muslim posts, which officials said were instigating the violence, The Guardian reports.

Tensions between Buddhist groups and minority Muslims reached a breaking point in the country Sunday, Reuters reports, after a Buddhist was killed in an incident with a group of Muslim Sri Lankans. Muslim-owned businesses and mosques were targeted by hard-line Buddhist mobs, some of whom accuse Muslims in the Buddhist-majority nation of forcing people to convert to Islam, explains Al Jazeera.

Since Sunday, at least two people have been killed and eight have been injured in Kandy. Reuters describes the violence as the result of years of bubbling tensions between Buddhist nationalists and Muslims, following a civil war that ended in 2009.