Over 100 hurt in Sri Lanka workers' protests

COLOMBO - More than 100 factory workers were hurt in Sri Lanka on Monday as police fired fired live bullets and used teargas to break up protests in the country's main free trade zone, officials said.

Workers pelted stones when police moved into disperse protesters demanding the withdrawal of a controversial pensions bill, a police official said.

"At least one person is in a very serious condition and more than 100 people have suffered injuries," the police official, who did not wish to be named, said. Fifteen constables were also injured.

The teargas upset hives of wasps and caused more mayhem as they stung both protesters and police at Katunayake Free Trade Zone, just next to the country's only international airport, police said.

The street battles blocked the main access road to the airport and forced air travellers to take lengthy detours, police said.