Myanmar police impose martial law in Mandalay

Myanmar police impose martial law in Mandalay

Thu Jul 3, 2014 2:33PM GMT

An overnight curfew has been put in place in Myanmar’s second largest city following Buddhists’ violence for two consecutive nights against Muslims.

The curfew followed two nights of sectarian unrest that left at least two people dead in the latest wave of violence in the Buddhist-majority Southeast Asian nation.

On Tuesday, Buddhist rioters armed with sticks and knives attacked a teashop owned by a Muslim man and the surrounding property in downtown Mandalay.

On Wednesday, violence broke out again across the city center after hours of relative calm with angry mobs rampaging through the city.

Two men, one Buddhist and one Muslim, were killed in the violence police said, adding that at least 14 people were also injured.

In a monthly radio address, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein described the country as a “multi-racial and religious nation” that could only maintain stability if people live “harmoniously.”

Muslims in Myanmar account for an estimated four percent of the 60 million population.

Violence flared up two years ago in the western Rakhine state, leaving hundreds in the Muslim community there, known as Rohingyas dead, and about 140,000 people homeless.

They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country’s independence in 1948. The UN recognizes the Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as one of the world’s most persecuted communities.

The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims. International bodies and human rights organizations accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the violence.

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