Pic: AP.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The United States has urged the Sri Lankan government to protect the rights of journalists after a government-backed protest forced the cancelation of a training program for journalists.

The U.S. embassy in Colombo in a statement says it “is deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of a journalism training session” over the weekend. The training focused on digital security for journalists and was financially supported by the U.S. government.

Sunil Jayasekara, convener of the local media rights group Free Media Movement, said training was canceled because of intimidation and a government-backed protest in front of the training center.

It was the third journalists training to be canceled since May.