REX/Haydn West

Calls to postpone Pope's trip to Sri Lanka

Sat 06 Dec 2014
By Antony Bushfield

Concerns have been raised about the timing of the upcoming papal trip to Sri Lanka.

Some priests are now asking for the visit of Pope Francis to be postponed so it doesn't clash with the country's presidential election.

In the past the days after the vote have seen violence in some parts of the country.

The Holy Father is due in the country on January 13, just five days after the poll.

Sri Lankan Catholic leader Revd Leo Perera has now written to the country's bishops raising concerns that violence during the visit could 'sully the image of the papacy'.

He's recommended the visit be rearranged: "Perhaps the understanding that His Holiness does not visit a country too close to an important national election can be cited as a valid reason for the postponement.

"This also is justified as the president has gone back on his assurances that the two events would not be too close to each other."

After local elections in 2011 at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in clashes between protesters and police.

The army had to be called onto the streets and curfews put in place.

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