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Sri Lankan city shut ahead of war crime resolution

March 20, 2014

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Supporters of Sri Lanka’s government brought a city in the country’s former civil war zone to a standstill on Thursday to protest a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council on alleged war crimes.

Shops, banks and government offices were closed and public transportation was halted in Trincomalee, a city of about 100,000 people in eastern Sri Lanka.

Around 3,000 people walked in a protest march across the city, condemning the resolution and demanding that it be halted. They also burned effigies of President Barack Obama and U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay.

Also on Thursday, more than 100 government supporters demonstrated outside the U.N. office and the embassies of the U.S. and U.K. in the capital, Colombo. They shouted slogans and displayed placards reading “Hands off Sri Lanka” and “We suffered 30 years of war, let us live in peace.”

Sri Lanka faces criticism for failing to properly probe alleged war crimes and rights abuses during the final stages of the quarter century-long war, which ended in 2009.

The United States is sponsoring a third resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for an international probe of alleged war crimes if Sri Lanka fails to conduct one of its own. Voting on the resolution is expected next week.

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