Sri Lanka's Muslims call off protest over deadly attacks

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan Muslims called off a planned protest on Monday to denounce a series of attacks by Buddhist extremists after police warned their action could further inflame religious tensions.

The Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath (SLTJ) said they were calling off their demonstration in the capital as well as a work stoppage after talks with a senior police officer in charge of security in the capital.

"As to a request of Senior Deputy Inspector General Anura Senanayake the SLTJ postpones the protest," the group said on Twitter.

Muslims were due to stage a "hartal", or work stoppage, similar to their action on Thursday when much of Colombo's wholesale markets shut down to protest a wave of attacks which have left at least four people dead.

Police have been widely criticised for their failure to prevent a series of attacks at the beginning of last week in coastal areas, carried out by a hardline Buddhist group known as the Buddhist Force (BBS).

Muslims account for about 10 per cent of Sri Lanka's 20 million population who are mainly Buddhists.