Muslim-run shops shut in Sri Lanka

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COLOMBO — Several hundred Muslim-owned businesses shut down in the Sri Lankan capital on Thursday to protest deadly riots by extremist Buddhists, defying President Mahinda Rajapakse’s plea to stay open. Shops and restaurants in central Colombo were shuttered following the riots in two mainly Muslim coastal resorts popular with international tourists that left four people dead and Muslim homes and businesses razed. “The protest is against the BBS and the police failure to protect our community,” a Muslim shop-keeper who declined to be named said. “We are also asking the government to take action against those behind the riots.” A Sinhalese businessman said most of the shops in the normally bustling Pettah wholesale market in Colombo were closed. The closures came as police said a moderate monk who voiced opposition to the BBS had been abducted, beaten up and dumped by the road side outside Colombo early Thursday.

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