Christians renewed an appeal to the Sri Lankan government to defend religious freedom after the nation’s minority Christian community was shocked by an attack on a Protestant church. The attack occurred on Dec. 9, in Weeraketiya, an area in the southern province of Sri Lanka. A crowd of about 1,000 people, including many Buddhist monks, stormed the church building and injured its pastor. The crowd destroyed the church, sacred furnishings and parked cars. The day before the incident a group of Buddhists and monks had visited the pastor, warning him that without the permission of the Buddhist clergy, he could not carry out Christian worship in Weeraketiya. In 2012, the Christian communities in Sri Lanka of different denominations reported about 50 attacks by Buddhists. Over 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 20.4 million are Buddhists. Christians are estimated to be 8.4 percent of the population; 40 percent of them belong to the Tamil ethnic minority. The Buddhist Power Force (Bodu Bala Sena), one of the violent Buddhist groups, recently asked its followers to “defend the country” from Muslims and Christians.