England cricketers warned over Sri Lanka upheaval

Oct 31, 2018, 09:44 IST | AFP

One man has been killed in upheaval after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the country's prime minister and replaced him with former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse

England cricketers warned over Sri Lanka upheaval
Sri Lanka's sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center right in white shirt and black trousers, waves to his supporters along with law makers supporting him during a protest rally outside the prime ministers official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. Thousands of supporters of wickremesinghe gathered in capital demanding president Maithripala Sirisena to convene the parliament immediately. Back drop in Sinhalese reads " Respect the mandate! Convene the parliament ! Democracy ". Pic/AP/PTI

England's cricket stars have been told to stay away from political demonstrations while touring Sri Lanka, which is in the grip of a constitutional power struggle. One man has been killed in upheaval after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the country's prime minister and replaced him with former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse.

"We are exercising vigilance and avoiding all demonstrations or large political gatherings," England spokesman Danny Reuben told AFP. "We are aware of a political demonstration today, but for us it is all about preparations for the first Test." Reuben said a four-day practice match in Colombo would go ahead as planned, despite the troubles in the capital.

England take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle, in the south of the country, on November 6. England are due to stay in Sri Lanka until November 27 when the third Test ends.

The dispute between sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Rajapakse has already hit Sri Lanka's cricket establishment. On Sunday, bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's captain when they won the 1996 World Cup, opened fire at a crowd as they moved to rescue him from Rajapakse supporters. One man was killed and two others were wounded. Ranatunga was arrested Monday on an allegation of ordering the shooting, but was released on bail.

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