Sri Lanka fires warning shots to halt dock workers' protest

Sri Lankan naval troops have fired warning shots to break up a protest by striking dock workers who have held up a Japanese vessel for four days at the island's southern international port.

Navy spokesman Akram Alavi said navy troops entered the Hambantota port from the sea Saturday using navy boats and dispersed the protesting workers with warning shots. The protesters had been preventing the Japanese vehicle carrier Hyperion Highway from leaving the port.

He says after navy's intervention, the ship sailed Saturday afternoon toward its next destination, Oman.

Temporary workers at Hambantota port have been engaged in a strike since Tuesday, demanding they should be made permanent employees of the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority which manages island nation's ports.