Mon 18 Aug 2014
Filed under: Human Rights,Inside Burma,News,Religion
A curfew imposed in Mandalay following an outbreak of violence in July was lifted last week, but police officials said additional security forces would remain in the city.
A 9pm to 5am curfew was imposed across six townships on July 3 after two men – a Buddhist and a Muslim – were killed in religious violence on July 1. The curfew was extended to Patheingyi township after Muslim burial grounds in Aye Yeik Nyein cemetery were attacked during the Buddhist man’s funeral on July 4. The curfew was scaled back on July 28 to 9pm-3am and changed again days later to begin at 10pm.
“We will add some more police in the city as to avoid problems,” Colonel Sein Tun from the city’s District Police Force told The Myanmar Times, “Police will patrol townships.”
Colonel Sein Tun also said that restaurants, teashops and other shops will have to close by 11pm even though the curfew has been lifted.
“Since then [the fighting] we have not allowed them to stay open the whole night. After lifting the curfew restaurants will be allowed to be open until 11pm,” he said.
City residents had been growingly increasingly frustrated at the limitations on their movements in the evening.
“The curfew should have been lifted already,” said Ko Zaw Zaw, owner of a wholesale business in Aung Myay Thar San township.
“Everyone knows that Mandalay is at peace. The problem that erupted here is not too big. All we want is peace and for our business not to be affected.”
According to Patheingyi township police station, 15 young people have been charged with setting fire to and destroying the Muslim burial grounds of the cemetery where the Buddhist man was buried.
These arrests come in addition to the dozens who have been questioned over the two killings, but police have yet to identify those responsible.
By August 5 police said that they had questioned 53 people including 14 suspected people of murder, according to the Information and Public Relation Department of Mandalay Region but as of August 14 no charges had been filed.
Police also charged 516 people for breaking the curfew while it was in force and a further 1166 people were charged with disobeying public servants.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun