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Sri Lanka's Buddhist Monks Protest Bangladesh Violence

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks shout slogans and hold placards as they stage a protest rally outside the Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo, October 4, 2012.
Hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrated in Sri Lanka Thursday to protest a recent wave of violence targeting their religious community in Bangladesh.

Reverend Galagodawatte Ghanasara told the crowd in Colombo that Buddhists are hiding in jungles in fear of their lives after rampaging Muslims reportedly torched more than 20 temples and over 100 businesses in southern Bangladesh near the Burmese border. He said innocent people have been massacred.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh's high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Shafiur Rahman says some 800 people peacefully protested in front of the Bangladesh Embassy and had discussions with the staff.

A day earlier, the Associated Press reported that representatives of Sri Lanka's minority Muslim community also condemned the violence and demanded that authorities punish those responsible. The human rights group Amnesty International also released a statement urging Bangladeshi authorities to protect minority populations.

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims rioted Saturday and Sunday, targeting Buddhist temples in Cox Bazar and surrounding areas. The attacks began after Muslims found a photo of a burned Quran and blamed it on a Buddhist man.

Bangladeshi Home Affairs Minister Mohiuddun Khan Alamgir has accused radical Islamists and opposition party activists of instigating the riots as a "premeditated and deliberate" attempt to disrupt communal harmony.

Bangladeshi authorities say they have detained about 300 people in connection with the riots.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.