Sri Lanka police break up protest against private university

AP News
Posted: May 17, 2017 8:13 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Police in Sri Lanka have fired tear gas at thousands of students protesting against a private medical university they say could jeopardize the nation's tradition of state-funded education.

About 5,000 university students defied an official ban on the protest imposed earlier Wednesday and marched through the capital of Colombo to a city park. They were engulfed in billowing tear gas as they tried to leave the park and resume their march.

The issue has sparked months of demonstrations in the island nation, with doctors and students urging the government to shut down the private South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine.

Protesters say the private institute is a stepping stone toward the complete privatization of education. It is Sri Lanka's only private university currently training medical students.