News / Asia

    Burma Town Under Curfew after Religious Violence

    Map of Meikhtila, BurmaMap of Meikhtila, Burma
    x
    Map of Meikhtila, Burma
    Map of Meikhtila, Burma
    Daniel Schearf
    Authorities in Burma have put a town under curfew after violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left at least 10 people dead, including a Buddhist monk.  Tensions have been simmering in Burma since communal clashes last year killed nearly 200 people and left more than 100,000 homeless.

    Burma authorities say a nighttime curfew in the town of Meikhtila will remain in place after a second day of violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.

    Hundreds of people rioted Wednesday, setting fire to shops and damaging at least two Muslim religious buildings.

    Local opposition politician Win Htein told VOA's Burmese service the situation was still unstable, despite the curfew.

    He says after the action he thought the riot would be settled down, but some local Burmese and a group of Muslims fought each other.  Local police, he says, could not disperse the crowds, so more than 10 people were killed in the fight.  He says now the area is under control, but in some other areas Muslims are attacking local Burmese.

    A local woman, who did not wished to be named, told VOA's Burmese service she was too afraid to go outside.

    She says even though the rioting settled down Wednesday, it is getting worse because some Muslims killed a monk. Now, she says, the crowds of monks and local Burmese are gathering.  She says she could not go out at all because all the roads are blocked.

    The central Burma town is 150 kilometers south of Mandalay.

    Burma online news media published photos of police carrying riot shields massing on the streets and crowds gathered in front of damaged shop fronts.

    Burma media reports say the fighting started after a dispute in a gold shop escalated between Buddhist customers and the Muslim owners.

    Joint General Secretary of Burma's Islamic Religious Council, Wunna Shwe, blames the unrest on a lack of rule of law.

    He says the argument happened between a shop owner and a customer.  He says local authorities should have taken immediate action on the unfairness of the case according to the law, but they failed to take action quickly and then the situation got out of control.

    Burma is a majority Buddhist nation with Burmese as the largest ethnic group.  But with numerous ethnic and religious minorities, occasional sectarian tensions erupt into violence.

    Last year, Burma's western Rakhine state was the scene of deadly clashes between Buddhists and Muslims. Nearly 200 people were killed and 120,000 left homeless, most of them a stateless Muslim minority called the Rohingya.

    Rights groups have expressed concern religious tensions could spread and disrupt Burma's reform efforts.

    U.S. Ambassador to Burma, Derek Mitchell, issued a statement saying he is deeply concerned about reports of violence and widespread property damage.  He also expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and property.

    The embassy says it is closely monitoring events.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora