Angry President tells jeering crowd to leave

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was jeered by a section of the multi-ethnic crowd while speaking in Tamil at a political rally in support of UPFA candidates in Vavuniya on Thursday.

The President reading from a teleprompter was addressing the crowd in Tamil when a section of the Sinhala crowd jeered. “I am also a Sinhalese just like you, but I will speak only in Tamil, and if you cannot understand, then leave the venue,” the President told those who were continuing to jeer and hoot.

Undeterred President Rajapaksa continued in Tamil and said “since you have tried to interrupt me I will continue to speak in Tamil.”

Later the President had summoned Vavuniya district UPFA candidate P. Sumathipala and warned him to restrain his supporters. This was after investigators found that supporters of Mr. Sumathipala were involved in the jeering.

Mr. Sumathipala told the Sunday Times his supporters were only cheering the President. This was the third occasion that there were disturbances when the President had been at a public rally, speaking in support of candidates contesting the upcoming general elections. Earlier in Kandy a section of the crowd booed when the President referred to Sarath Amunugama as the group leader for the Kandy district.

This was followed by a similar incident of jeering at a Galle meeting when the President referred to Sachin Vaas Gunawardene.

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