Sri Lanka suspends 2 lawmakers over fistfight in parliament

AP News
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Posted: May 05, 2016 6:55 AM
Sri Lanka suspends 2 lawmakers over fistfight in parliament

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Parliament on Thursday suspended two lawmakers for one week for getting into a fistfight that left several people injured earlier this week.

Parliament passed a motion imposing the suspension on ruling coalition lawmaker Palitha Thewarapperuma and opposition lawmaker Prasanna Ranaweera.

Tuesday's fracas inside Parliament occurred after an argument between opposition and government lawmakers over the removal of military security for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. One lawmaker was hospitalized.

Rajapaksa, who was president when Sri Lanka's civil war ended in 2009, lost his bid for re-election last year but was later elected as an opposition lawmaker.

Opposition members are demanding that Rajapaksa's military security be reinstated, saying he is under threat from Tamil rebels who were defeated in the long civil war. The government says the security council decided to deploy police officers, not soldiers, for the security of lawmakers. The government also says it is prepared to increase the number of police officers in the former president's security detail if Rajapaksa asks.