MANDALAY — Mandalay’s divisional minister of border affairs and security said on Thursday that 70 percent of the area’s security forces would be utilized during the Thingyan water festival.
“We will use 70 percent of the police force to cover the entire Mandalay area during Thingyan,” said Gen Myo Min Aung, the Mandalay border affairs and security minister.
“The police will be deployed especially around the old palace wall, Mandalay Hill, Kandawgyi Lake, U Bein Bridge and other crowded areas, during the day and at night,” he added.
The minister said warnings and notices regarding the use of drugs and alcohols were being distributed to the pavilions, and that a special team would be carrying out surprise checks during the festival.
“Some people use drugs during the festival. Some pavilions even sell drugs. We’ve issued notices, however, and will take legal action if people are found in breach of the law,” the minister said.
Thousands of people travel to Mandalay for Thingyan, making it one of the most crowded areas in the country at that time.
“We’ve also warned people not to wear masks or military outfits, or carry toy guns or swords, for security purposes. If found, we will seize these objects and return them after the festival,” he added.
This year, Mandalay will celebrate Thingyan with water pumps but also Burmese traditions, with a walkway along 26th Street featuring traditional Burmese dishes.
Local authorities have said they expect hundreds of thousands of visitors in Mandalay at the festival this year, held from April 13-17.