Myanmar police shoot dead seven protesters in troubled Rakhine

Published January 18, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mr. Fu

By Reuters

Yangon – Myanmar police shot dead seven demonstrators, while 12 were injured in troubled Rakhine State, after a local gathering celebrating an ancient Buddhist Arakan kingdom turned violent.

The demonstrators gathered late on Tuesday in Mrauk U township in the northern part of Rakhine to mark the end of the Arakan kingdom, the secretary of the Rakhine state government, Tin Maung Swe, told Reuters.

The violent demonstration underscores the challenges facing Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a country where dozens of ethnic groups have been clamoring for autonomy since independence from Britain in 1947.

Some 4,000 people surrounded a government building after the annual ceremony marking the demise of the Arakan kingdom over 200 years ago, Tin Maung Swe said. Organizers did not seek approval from local authorities for the gathering, he said.

“The police used rubber bullets initially but the crowd didn’t leave. Finally the security members had to shoot. The conflict happened when some people tried to seize guns from the police,” he said.

Tun Ther Sein, regional MP from Mrauk U, said some of the critically injured protesters were taken to the state capital of Sittwe, a three-hour drive south of the ancient town studded with Buddhist temples.

The United Nations in Myanmar called on authorities to “investigate any disproportionate use of force or other illegal actions that may have occurred in relation to this incident.”

 
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