The Bodu Bala Sena, with the assistance of the police, prevented a peaceful candle lit vigil from taking place outside the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters in Thunmulla late this evening.
A small crowd under the banner ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’ stood outside the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters and attempted to stage the vigil calling for an end to hate speeches.
However Bodu Bala Sena executive member Dilantha Widanage led a group of Bodu Bala Sena supporters towards the crowd and demanded that they leave.
The police who had provided tight security to the Bodu Bala Sena office then ordered the demonstrators to leave.
The demonstrators then headed towards police park to stage the vigil but were prevented from doing so by the police.
Eventually some of the demonstrators were arrested and taken to the Bambalapitiya police station for questioning.
The demonstrators had then attempted to stage the vigil at another location closer to police park but members and supporters of the Bodu Bala Sena arrived at the location with the police and obstructed the vigil.
Widanage accused the demonstrators of operating with the support of NGOs and claimed there were no Buddhists among the crowd.
A senior police officer was then seen asking some of the demonstrators individually if they were Buddhists.
Widanage also insisted that the demonstrators should be arrested claiming that they had distributed leaflets calling for the Sri Lanka national anthem to be changed.
Some men clad in Bodu Bala Sena T-shirts were seen taking photographs of those present including that of journalists.
When the journalists protested at their photographs being taken the police turned a deaf ear and Dilantha Widanage said they had a right to take photographs.
The demonstrators eventually dispersed with an assurance they will try again to get their message across.
A tight police presence was seen outside the Bodu Bala Sena overnight even after the demonstrators dispersed.
Report and pics by Easwaran Rutnam