Sri Lanka protests against Libya air strikes

Protest in Sri Lanka over Libya  - 24 March 2011 Protesters chanted slogans against the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

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Hundreds of people have protested against Western-led air strikes in Libya outside the United Nations headquarters in Sri Lanka.

Demonstrators shouted anti-Western slogans, waved placards and burned tyres near the UN compound.

The protests were organised by political parties closely allied to Sri Lanka's president.

Correspondents say relations between Libya and Sri Lanka have been extremely close in recent years.

Libya was one of the countries which supported Sri Lanka when the UN Human Rights Council sought a resolution against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes in the wake of the country's 26-year civil war.

In 2010 the UN was forced to close its offices in Colombo for several days because of protests over a proposed war crimes investigation.

BBC Sinhala's Elmo Fernando, who was at Thursday's rally, said that protesters chanted slogans urging UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to quit his post and "go home".

They also accused the international alliance of conducting raids over Libya of war crimes, our correspondent says.

There have also been protests against air strikes in Libya in Greece, Serbia, Spain and Turkey.

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