Sri Lanka braces for protests after factory worker dies

Colombo – Sri Lanka braced for protests by opposition and trade unionists after a young factory worker in the country’s main free trade zone died of his injuries Wednesday following a police shooting incident.

Roshen Chanaka, 21, was among some 250 employees in the free trade zone at Katunayaka near Colombo who were injured when police opened fire on a demonstration against a private sector pension scheme on Monday.

Chanka, who was in the intensive care unit, died without regaining conscious, hospital sources said.

The free trade zone where most foreign companies are located was shut down for two days and was due to reopen on Thursday.

Trade unioniSts and opposition parties have planned a protest campaign against the death of the worker, the police attack and the proposed pension scheme.

Earlier Wednesday, the head of the police, Mahinda Balasuriya, announced his retirement three weeks early after police were blamed for their handling of Monday’s demonstration.

Troops and riot police have been deployed around the free trade zone at Katunayaka after some of the foreign investors expressed concerns about security.


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