In Mandalay, Security Moves to Stop Religious Rabble-Rousers

By The Irrawaddy 3 May 2013

RANGOON—Shouting anti-Muslim slogans, unidentified persons allegedly attempted to instigate unrest between Buddhists and Muslims in Mandalay on Thursday evening, local residents say, but security forces and civil society groups prevented any ensuing clashes.

Witnesses on 35th, 73th and 78th streets in Burma’s second-largest city said a group of people tried to stir up religious tensions by spreading rumors about Muslims in their areas around 7 pm on Thursday.

“Some shouted, ‘Monks are matching up to set Muslim houses on fire,’ and then ran away,” said one of the witness who lives in a Muslim neighborhood.

Around 11 pm, a mob with motorcycles drove across Mandalay, singing Burma’s national anthem and shouting anti-Muslim slogans. The police reportedly detained three suspects.

The attempt to fuel religious tensions in Mandalay follows anti-Muslim violence in Okkan Township, about 65 km north of Rangoon, on Tuesday and Wednesday. That violence, which left at least one person dead and more than 150 buildings burned down, was the closest communal violence has come to Rangoon since anti-Muslim riots broke out in central Burma’s Mandalay and Pegu divisions in March.