At least one person was killed and dozens of shops and mosques were destroyed after fresh communal violence broke out in Sri Lanka. While the unrest was concentrated in three districts north of the capital, a night curfew was imposed across the country to prevent the spread of violence. With a ban in place on social media like Facebook, past and present cricketers from the nation have been tweeting and putting out public messages appealing for peace.
All-rounder Angelo Matthews, who will be representing the nation at the upcoming World Cup, tweeted an appeal for peace saying that lives from all races and religions will be lost if violence continues. He also referred to the anti-Tamil riots of 1983 in the island nation and said the nation should not go back to that period.
There will be a lot of innocent lives lost from all races and religions if we all spread hatred.Please let’s not go back to 1983.Let us unite think of our kids and save our beautiful country. pic.twitter.com/mywP42rx3T
— Angelo Mathews (@Angelo69Mathews) May 14, 2019
Former captain and Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene also tweeted an appeal for peace and even tweeted about a news story that another user had shared.
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) May 13, 2019
Stop playing with peoples lives for political benifit .. https://t.co/Xo0BNJW83O
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) May 14, 2019
Former fast bowler Chaminda Vaas, recently appointed MCC president Kumar Sangakkara were also among those who tweeted asking people to preserve the peace.
— Chaminda Vaas (@chaminda_vaas) May 14, 2019
STOP. BREATHE. THINK. OPEN YOUR EYES. If we lose ourselves in violence, racism, thuggery and hatred we lose our country. Unite as Sri Lankans, be peaceful, keep each other safe. Do not give into shameful, divisive political agendas. WE HEAL AND RISE TOGETHER AS ONE NATION
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) May 14, 2019
The Sri Lankan government has reimposed a ban on social media after the clashes. Army chief Mahesh Senanayake said the troops have been instructed to deal very strictly with those who defy the curfew and will shoot on sight if anyone defies the order.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in an address to the nation, said the military has been asked to quell the anti-Muslim riot and urged public cooperation to the security forces to bring the situation under control.
The flare-up is the worst violence in the three weeks since Sri Lankan Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches on Easter Sunday.