No May Day in Lanka due to security

All parties and trade unions said holding a normal May Day rally became a challenge following the suicide bombings on leading Colombo hotels and churches. AFP File photo

Sri Lanka's political parties and trade unions shunned holding big May Day rallies on Wednesday in view of the fluid security situation following the country's worst terror attacks on Easter Sunday which killed over 250 people.

A normal May Day or International Labour Day would see long processions of political parties during the day with large rallies till late in the evening.

All parties and trade unions said holding a normal May Day rally became a challenge following the suicide bombings on leading Colombo hotels and churches.

"We decided not to hold our procession. Instead, we will meet our trade union members indoors," Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, the minister of Education and the ruling UNP general secretary said.

President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) they too decided to cancel their procession and rally and would hold a low key event.

The city of Colombo and most parts of the island are under a tight security blanket with regular road blocks set up to check vehicles as security has been beefed up following the country's worst terror attacks that killed 253 people and injured 500 others.

Authorities say at least a few more Jihadi bombers may be in the run. The information flow from the communities have helped in many arrests.

The island's 10 per cent Muslim minority fears reprisals and the security forces, political and religious leaders are keen to maintain peace by not allowing room for any disturbances.

Earlier this week, the government banned all garments which would hinder the identification of individuals.

Muslim women have been made to stop wearing niqab, hijab scarves and abaya robes.

The Muslim clerics have issued the appeal to shun these garments as means to extend cooperation to security forces which carry out operations to ensure safety in the face of threats of more attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday warned that unscrupulous political elements were trying to ignite religious clashes leading to the Buddhist majority Wesak festival which is to happen later this month.

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