In the first such violence since the Easter Sunday bombings of three churches and three hotels by Islamist extremists that killed 257 people, several Muslim homes and vehicles were damaged in Negombo.
Authorities have yet to confirm any arrests or injuries in the clashes, but videos circulated on social media showed mobs throwing stones at Muslim businesses, destroyed furniture inside homes, shattered windows and overturned vehicles.
AFP was unable to immediately verify the footage.
A few hundred extra troops and police were deployed late Sunday as authorities imposed a night-time curfew in the town.
“I appeal to all Christians, Buddhists and Muslims to be patient, show restraint and ensure the peace we maintained after the Easter bombings,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on national television on Monday.
The curfew was lifted on Monday morning and police said an investigation into the evening clashes was underway.
Sri Lanka’s main international airport is located in the area, but police said there was no disruption to airport traffic.
Muslims make up around 10 per cent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka’s population and Christians about 7.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, public schools reopened Monday after an extended Easter holiday, with heavily armed police and troops guarding schools and imposing parking restrictions.
The country has been under a state of emergency since the Easter bombings.
Security forces and police have been given sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.
The government has blamed the Easter bombings on a local jihadist organisation which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
Source: STRAITS TIMES