At least four arrested and one injured in Mandalay riot

By MRATT KYAW THU | FRONTIER

MANDALAY — At least four people were arrested and one injured last night during a riot in Mandalay witnessed by Frontier.

About 20 people gathered outside a police station on 80th Street in Aung Myay Thar Zan Township, between 9th and 10th streets, at around 2pm yesterday and demanded that police hand over a suspect accused of raping a child.

Frontier was unable to learn anything more about the alleged rape, with police refusing to answer questions.

Police were unable to appease the group and the situation grew increasingly tense throughout the evening, with the crowd growing to about 150 people by 8pm.

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Around 50 people shouted “death penalty to the rapist” and threw stones at the township administration office beside the police station.

One chair was broken and a 100-household leader from Aung Myay Thar Zan’s 49 ward, U Hla Tint, was hit by stones. He was taken to the Eye, Nose and Throat Hospital but is not in a serious condition.

U Paw Lu, another 100-household head from 49 ward, was with U Hla Tint and the township administrator when tensions boiled over. “I don’t know these people – they are not from my ward – so I couldn’t calm them down,” he said.

At 8:30pm, police blocked access to 80th Street and fired seven warning shots. This calmed the crowd, and some people left the scene.

The protesters who remained at the barrier continued to call out support for the death penalty and goaded police by mocking them and throwing stones. Eventually around 20 police were able to disperse the mob. While most ran away, police were able to detain one male, who appeared to be about 16 years old.

Police then cordoned off 11th Street and other roads near the scene of the riot. Several protesters, including a number of women, continued to shout demands until police forced them to disperse. Three teenagers and one man were detained, although one of the boys is thought to have since been released.

Neither the police nor government have released a statement about last night’s incident, so it is unclear whether those who have detained will be charged.

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