Emeute à Colombo contre un chanteur de R&B – mars 2010

Akon video sparks riot


22 03 2010

Four people have been injured at a Sri Lankan broadcaster’s headquarters after Buddhist protesters campaigning against an upcoming Akon concert hurled rocks at the building.

Promoters of the R&B singer’s April concert in the capital city of Colombo have come under fire from locals, who have taken offence to his video Sexy Chick, which features groups of near-naked women dancing at a pool party in front of a Buddha statue.

Around 200 angry Sri Lankans gathered outside the head office of the Maharaja Organisation, which is sponsoring the star’s gig, holding up posters reading ‘Stop Akon’s show’, and demonstrating their fury by smashing windows and causing damage to cars parked outside the building.

Four network employees were hurt in Monday’s riot, according to Maharaja boss Chevan Daniel.

Police have confirmed a number of the protesters were taken into custody, although it is not clear if they will face any charges.

Stones hurled at Sri Lankan broadcaster’s office; 4 hurt


22 03 2010

Hundreds of people stormed the head office of Sri Lanka’s largest private broadcaster on Monday and hurled stones at the building, smashing windows and damaging parked cars, witnesses said.


The attack by an estimated 200 people on the pro-opposition network came as the campaign for parliamentary polls on April 8 hots up.

Witnesses also said the attackers shouted slogans against the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television (MBC/MTV) Network’s sponsorship of a concert by R&B singer Akon next month. Many people in the Buddhist-majority nation say a recent music video starring Akon defames the Buddha.

Officials at MBC/MTV, which runs three TV and four radio stations from its headquarters in central Colombo, said four employees were injured.

« The entire head office came under attack and our guys got hit with rocks, » Chevaan Daniel, the head of news at MBC/MTV, told Reuters at the scene.

The network aired visuals of the attack, clearly showing people throwing stones at the building.

Prashantha Jayakody, a police spokesman, said he was not aware of the incident.

A Reuters reporter saw some attackers being dragged away by police amid shattered glass outside of the office and damaged vehicles.

Mob attacks MBC


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

By Gandhya Senanayake and Supun Dias

A mob attacked the MTV/MBC head office at Braybrooke Place, Colombo yesterday evening severely damaging the property of the place, an MBC official said.

He also said that the MTV staff members also came under attack around 3.30 pm and the staff had to retaliate by throwing the very same stones at the mob after which the gang fled the scene.

It is assumed that the attack had been carried out to mark the protest over the upcoming concert by R&B singer Akon in Colombo sponsored by the MTV/MBC networks.

Police who arrived at the scene made at least 16 arrests.

When contacted police media spokesman SP Preshantha Jayakody said that several suspects has been arrested by the Slave Island police.

“They are currently recording statements from the suspects and also from Sirasa employees in regard to the damage that had caused to the networks premises,” he said.

Members of the Special Task Force and the police have been deployed outside the premises. With the arrival of a special police squad including riot police the armed group fled from the scene.

The MBC official said that at least four its employees were injured due to the attack.

Eye witnesses said that some of the attackers at the scene had held placards against the upcoming concert by popular international R&B artiste Akon.

Akon, born Aliaune Thiam on October 14, 1981, is a Senegalese-American hip hop and R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer. Akon rose to fame in 2004 following the release of his single “Locked Up” from his debut album Trouble.His music video « Sexy Chick » features scantily clad women dancing at a pool party with a Buddha statue visible in the background.

‘Akon respects Buddhism’

By Kshanika Argent

Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam (AKA Akon) means no disrespect to Buddhism or any race or religion and is eager to perform in Colombo according to organizers who have secured the international R&B act.

Akon is scheduled to perform in Colombo at the SSC Stadium on April 24 in a concert that is backed by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) but a Facebook group with a large number of members claim the singer is disrespectful of Buddhism and calls for the event to be boycotted.

However, speaking to Daily Mirror online, Lasantha Samarasinghe of Platinum Entertainment, the organization behind the Akon concert, said that the claims are an attempt at tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka and would jeopardize the country’s future prospects in bringing down international artistes.

“Akon is one of the most popular artists in the international music scene at the moment and this is his first performance in the region, even India failed in its bid to secure a performance by the artist so it’s a huge event for Sri Lanka,” Samarasinghe said.

He went on to state that the performance would fast-track tourism arrivals in the country as organizers expect huge crowds of fans from India, Malaysia, the Maldives and other neighbouring countries and that he has the backing of the relevant authorities and assured tight security at the event.

“This situation needs to be handled very carefully. I will respect whatever decisions the leaders of this country may take but as a promoter of Akon, I can say that the authorities are supportive and that the artist has no concerns in performing in Colombo,” Samarasinghe said.

Samarasinghe however cautioned that officials and ordinary citizens should be concerned at the message the protest is sending the world.

“Attempts like this paint an unfriendly image of Sri Lanka and will only make future attempts at securing such big stars more difficult. This (the protest) could be politically motivated by individuals who don’t want to see Sri Lanka prosper or it could be NGO’s or even rival event companies even who are disgruntled at me. I do know one thing and that is the concert is not about me, it’s about promoting Sri Lanka,” he said.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 23 mars 2010.

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