This week, terrorist attacks unleashed by eight suicide bombers at three churches and three hotels across Sri Lanka shocked the country on Easter. The explosions killed more than 250 people.
The attack was claimed by a local extremist group, National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), which has ties to ISIS. Sri Lanka’s state minister of defense claimed that the terror attacks were “motivated” by the attacks in New Zealand, but no definite link between them has been made yet. The government has also come under scrutiny for not acting on information provided by India’s Intelligence Services about the possibility of a grievous attack.
Both Christians and Muslims are minority groups in Sri Lanka, which has a majority Buddhist population. And Muslims have been urged to stay at home during their usual Friday prayers this week, as the government anticipates retaliatory acts of violence.
People have come together as the country mourns the loss of hundreds of lives and grapples with the aftermath of the attacks.
Elsewhere in the world, people came together for very different reasons — many in protest.
In Brazil, thousands of people belonging to indigenous groups protested President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to expand mining and industrial activities on protected indigenous lands. Protesters in Sudan formed human-chains, calling for a million people to march and pressure the government to make a quick transition from its current military rule‚ established after President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown, to civilian governance.
In London, members of the "Extinction Rebellion" group continued to block roads, occupy monuments, and protest against climate inaction. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist who was recently nominated for the Nobel peace prize, joined their efforts this week.
Despite devastating events, this week has highlighted the resilience of communities around the world — and these are some of its most striking images.
1) Attack in Sri Lanka: Melton Roy prays amid the newly buried graves of Easter Sunday bomb blast victims at Methodist burial ground in Negombo, Sri Lanka on April 23, 2019. At least 321 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in a series of bombings that ripped through Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on Sunday. The bombings were carried out by an obscure radical Islamic group and targeted churches, hotels, and other sites in an apparent attack on Christians celebrating the religious holiday Easter.
2) Indigenous Protest in Brazil: A young indigenous man applies body paint as he checks himself out in a mirror, during an annual three-day campout protest known as the Free Land Encampment, in Brasilia, Brazil, April 24, 2019. The event began amid animosity between Brazil’s indigenous groups and the new government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. According to the AP, more than 1,000 indigenous Brazilians gathered to protest a rollback of indigenous rights under Bolsonaro, who has promised to encourage the expansion of mining and industrial farming in protected indigenous areas.
3) Protests in Sudan: Sudanese protesters chant slogans as they gather for a "million-strong" march outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 25, 2019. Sudanese protesters began gathering for a "million-strong" march to turn up the heat on the ruling military council after three of its members resigned following talks on handing over power.
4) Central American Migration: A Central American migrant jumps from one freight train car to another, before the train leaves Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, April 24, 2019. The train known as “The Beast” is once again rumbling through the night loaded with people headed toward the US border after a raid on a migrant caravan threatened to end the practice of massive highway marches through Mexico. Migrants fleeing Central America's Northern Triangle region comprising Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala routinely cite poverty and rampant gang violence as their motivation for leaving.
A young Extinction Rebellion climate change protester holds a banner as they briefly block a road in central London, Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
5) Climate Protests in the UK: A young "Extinction Rebellion" climate change protester holds a banner as they briefly block a road in central London, April 24, 2019. The non-violent protest group, Extinction Rebellion, is seeking negotiations with the government over its demand to make slowing climate change a top priority.
6) Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion Protests: Former Labour leader Ed Miliband (left), Green Party leader Caroline Lucas (right), and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) at the House of Commons in Westminster, London, to discuss the need for cross-party action to address the climate crisis.
7) Life in India: A Kashmiri schoolgirl sits on a boat on Dal Lake as she holds an umbrella during rainfall in Srinagar, India on April 24, 2019.
8) Attacks in Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan local people pray near to St. Anthony Church on April 23, 2019 evening in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At least 321 people were killed with hundreds more injured after coordinated attack on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo as well as at Batticaloa in Sri Lanka. Based on reports, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, while investigations have shown that the attack may have been carried out in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand last month. Police have detained 40 suspects so far in connection with the suicide bombs, which injured at least 500 people as the blasts took place at churches in Colombo city as well as neighboring towns and hotels, including the Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand.
9) Indigenous Protests in Brazil: Indigenous men are pictured at a protest camp in Brasilia, Brazil, on April 25, 2019. Thousands of indigenous people decorated with traditional feathers and body paint converged on Brazil's capital Wednesday to defend hard-won land rights many fear could be eroded by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
10) Political Situation in Sudan: Sudanese protesters sit in front of a recently painted mural during a demonstration near the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 24, 2019. With the fall of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's long stifled graffiti artists are finally able to express their art, painting the country's revolution in murals and portraits flourishing across Khartoum's walls. Inspired by the months-long protest movement that finally toppled Bashir on April 11, several artists are using the walls of the army headquarters as a canvas.
11) India Elections: Indian voters queue up to cast their vote at a polling station in Malda in West Bengal state on April 23, 2019, during the third phase of the mammoth Indian elections. Some 190 million voters in 15 states are eligible to take part in the polls on the third of seven days of voting in the world's biggest election.
12) Vaccinations: A child receives a vaccination at a hospital during China's National Child Vaccination Awareness Day in Handan in China's northern Hebei province on April 25, 2019.
13) Climate Protests in the UK: "Extinction Rebellion" climate change protesters block a road in central London, April 25, 2019. The non-violent protest group, Extinction Rebellion, is seeking negotiations with the government on its demand to make slowing climate change a top priority.