Sri Lankan minister beaten by TV staff

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The Independent Online

A Sri Lankan minister held hostage by state television employees had stitches in head injuries yesterday after he was pelted with stones and sprayed with paint and urine.

Mervyn Silva, a Labour minister, had gone to the office of state-owned Rupavahini TV complaining that his speech at a ceremony the previous day to reopen a bridge destroyed by the 2004 tsunami was not aired.

His aide dragged the news director out of the newsroom, tearing his shirt. Then the broadcaster's irate staff hemmed the minister and his entourage into a small room, and would not let them leave, until he apologised.

Mr Silva was released after he apologised, but as police escorted him to his vehicle, a crowd pelted him with stones and dirty water that some said contained urine. Local television showed hundreds of people at the premises, shouting and jeering at the minister, who has previously been involved in brawls with the media.Reuters