Sri Lanka blocks social media again after attacks on Muslims

Sri Lanka has temporarily blocked some social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns in the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide attacks last month.

Christian groups threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned shops in the northwestern Christian-majority town of Chilaw on Sunday in anger at a Facebook post by a shopkeeper, police said.

Security forces fired shots in the air to disperse mobs, but the violence spread to nearby towns where businesses owned by Muslims were also attacked.

"Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in the country," Nalaka Kaluwewa, director general of the government information department, told Reuters news agency on Monday. 

Police said a night curfew, imposed on Sunday afternoon, in Chilaw and nearby areas was relaxed on Monday, but the social media ban was brought in to prevent incitement to violence.

Muslims make up around 10 percent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka's 21 million population and Christians about 7.6 percent.

Sri Lanka has used temporary bans on social media in a bid to deter misinformation and rumours.

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