YANGON: Myanmar police opened fire on a crowd of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as they tried to seize a government office late Tuesday, in unrest that left seven dead and injured around a dozen more, police told AFP.
Several thousand Buddhist protesters had gathered for a ceremony in Mrauk U, an ancient temple complex that has so far remained unscathed by the military’s crackdown on the region’s minority Rohingya Muslim community.
A police spokesperson blamed the crowd for “starting the violence” after barging into a district administrative office and hoisting the Rakhine State flag.
“Security forces asked them to disperse and fired warning shots with rubber bullets… but they didn’t stop, so police had to use real bullets,” Myanmar police spokesperson Colonel Myo Soe told AFP.
“Seven people were killed and 13 injured during last night’s violence in Mrauk U,” he said adding more than 20 police were wounded by sling shots and stones hurled by the crowd.
Mrauk U lies only a few dozen kilometres from the epicentre of violence that saw Rohingya driven in their hundreds of thousands into Bangladesh last August.
Government says insurgents trying to delay repatriation
It did not specify how many corpses were found or what community they belong to
Militant raids had sparked a ferocious military crackdown on the local Muslim population
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