Myanmar: Brawl leads to anti-Muslim riot in Rangoon’s outskirts

Hundreds of police officers were deployed after an anti-Muslim riot broke out in Hlegu town, near Rangoon, on Friday night.

HLEGU, Rangoon Division — A personal fight has sparked an anti-Muslim riot in the town of Hlegu on the outskirts of Rangoon. A Muslim man reportedly stabbed a Buddhist with a pair of scissors during an argument on Friday afternoon, after which an angry Buddhist mob pelted Muslim-owned properties with stones.

A mob of about 300 people destroyed a Muslim home and later attacked a mosque at about 6 pm on Friday, according to Ee Mang, a security guard at the mosque. He said local Buddhists were shouting profanity and calling for the death of Muslims as they shattered windows, broke into the building and stole money from the donation box.

“They threw stones and some of them got inside the mosque. But the police prevented them from doing further damage,” he told The Irrawaddy on Saturday, adding that he was born in Hlegu and had never before experienced conflict with local Buddhists.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed to the town on Friday night, about 45 kilometers outside the major city of Rangoon, while local authorities declared Section 188 of the Penal Code, ordering the crowd to disperse and imposing a curfew to prevent further unrest…