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Anti-Muslim rioters arrested as violence trickles beyond Rakhine

Coconuts logo Coconuts 14/9/2017

Several people were arrested in Myanmar this week for taking part in anti-Muslim violence or threatening to commit it. Anti-Muslims sentiments are running high throughout the country as the Myanmar military’s crackdown on ARSA insurgents and Rohingya civilians continues in Rakhine State.

On Monday, at least five people were arrested for rioting in the streets of Taungdwingyi, a town in Magway Region. They were part of a group of around 120 people who gathered in the town on Sunday night to sing Myanmar’s national anthem while wielding sticks, swords, and slingshots. Part of the group threw stones at non-Buddhist homes and shops, while another faction congregated in front of a mosque. The police tried to persuade the rioters to disperse, but when that didn’t work, they broke up the mobs with shields and rubber bullets.

anti-Muslim mob © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited anti-Muslim mob

An anti-Muslim mob gathered in Taungdwingyi on Sunday night and damaged several homes and shops. At least five rioters have been arrested. Photo: Information Committee

A regional legislator told Mizzimathat the riots were in response to an interfaith meeting that was held in Taungdwingyi on September 8. The Myanmar government’s Information Committee reported that the rioters were upset by the “ARSA extremist terrorist” attacks in northern Rakhine State.

At least 10 shops and homes were damaged. The Information Committee said police are searching for other people who were involved in the riot.

In a separate incident, a man was arrested in Sanchaung Township, Yangon, on Tuesday after drunkenly shouting in the street: “Are there any Muslims in this street? Come out! I will kill you all!”

Myanmar Nowreported that the man, later identified as 27-year-old Aung Thein Htwe, a worker at the Kyeemyindaung Railway Station, was detained by local residents and handed over to police.

Yesterday afternoon, a local judge sentenced Aung Thein Htwe to eight days in jail for public disorderly conduct. Police said his behavior did not warrant charges for incitement.

Sanchung police sub-inspector Aung La Pyae told Myanmar Now: “His emotions just exploded. We did not find that he was instigating riots.”

Myanmar has no laws against hate speech, though a draft is being considered in parliament.

The post Anti-Muslim rioters arrested as violence trickles beyond Rakhine appeared first on Coconuts.

Aung Thein Htwe, 27, was sentenced to eight days in jail yesterday for threatening to kill "all" Muslims in Sanchaung Township, Yangon. Photo: Myanmar Now: 21764758_1952610205008195_5249573787482124362_n © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited 21764758_1952610205008195_5249573787482124362_n

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