Mobs shut down multiple church services across Sri Lanka in July, with Christian leaders and congregations facing intimidation and violence.
On 15 July, a number of Buddhist monks, accompanied by 20 local villagers, gathered at a church in Ambalangoda, south-west Sri Lanka following the Sunday service. They demanded the pastor halt services and threatened to assault Christians unless they complied. Villagers shouted abuse and death threats at members of the congregation.
A church in Kiran, eastern Sri Lanka, was forced to halt its service on Sunday 8 July when a 50-60 strong mob, armed with sticks and rods, surrounded the place of worship. The mob included a number of public officials. The mob threatened to attack the church if they did not stop their worship service within 15 minutes. The pastor complied, after which the mob dispersed.
A service in Sevanapitiya was also disrupted on the same day after Buddhist monks, supported by at least 20 villagers, invaded the meeting, assaulted a member of the congregation and took away a number of Bibles.
Christians make up eight percent of the population of Sri Lanka, but face frequent persecution and local opposition, which is often led by Buddhist monks. Christians have also been attacked in the north-east of Sri Lanka where there is a Hindu majority.
From National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka