RANGOON — The Irrawaddy has spoken to a staff photographer on the ground at Letpadan, where police have violently dispersed a student protest blockaded at the local monastery on Tuesday afternoon.
Our photographer reported what he described as “a complete breakdown of police discipline”, with security forces splitting into two groups—one faction attempting to exercise restraint over the other, who were attacking protesters indiscriminately.
Police went door to door through houses near the monastery, dragging out protesters who sought refuge from the violence.
Police have attacked the lead vehicle of the protest convoy, destroying loudspeakers attached to the vehicle’s roof, smashing the windscreen and tearing off its doors. At least two ambulances have left to ferry the injured away from the scene of the crackdown.
Many Letpadan residents had been supportive of the protesters, and the mood among locals towards police is now hostile, according to our photographer.