World Bulletin / News Desk
Scores of Myanmar Muslims held a rare protest in the country's biggest city on Tuesday to demand justice for nine people killed by a Buddhist mob in an attack that has stirred communal tension.
The demonstration at a mosque in central Yangon was peaceful and ended by early evening, but at least six trucks loaded with police close by.
Some demonstrators showed pictures of the bloodied and beaten bodies of the nine Muslims who were killed on Sunday in Taunggoke in western Rakhine state, when anger erupted over the reported rape and murder of a Buddhist woman.
The Muslim demonstrators demanded justice, some shouting "religious freedom" and "eradicate terrorism", referring to the attack on the bus full of Muslims, which happened after leaflets were handed out urging retribution for the young woman's death.
Human rights activists and some Taunggoke residents said on Sunday those killed were Muslim pilgrims visiting Rakhine, with no connection to those blamed for killing the woman.
Protests are rare in Myanmar, where dissent was suppressed under the military's five-decade rule, which ended 15 months ago when a reformist, civilian-led government took office.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Thet Lwin, the officer in charge of handling the Tuesday protest, said police were mobilised to prevent any disturbance.
"The issue in question is nothing to do with race. All citizens are entitled to equal rights," he told reporters.
The Burmese Muslim Association said in a statement that eight of the victims were travelling back to Yangon after attending a mosque when they were attacked by a group with knives, while two were from Rakhine state.
"The Rakhines are threatening the Muslims of the other towns of Rakhine state too," it said.
Sunday's killing of the Muslims and the reported murder of the woman come as tension between Buddhists and Rakhine state's Muslim minority simmers.
Official media's reporting of the incident has also been contentious, causing upset on Internet social media among Buddhists as well as Muslims.
Media used a slang word "kalar" to refer to Muslims. The word means guest and is considered derogatory to people of South Asian descent in Myanmar, many of whose ancestors entered the county from the Indian subcontinent under British colonial rule.
Ko Mya Aye, a Muslim who was jailed for his part in a 1988 pro-democracy student uprising against the then military junta, urged the protesters to disperse to avoid confrontation.
"We should not do anything that will make the present situation reverse and go back to square one," he said, adding that the media's choice of words in reporting the incident was "adding fuel to the fire".
The Information Ministry, which oversees state media, had removed the contentious term from its website by early evening.
Internally displaced persons are either staying at evacuation centers or at their relative’s houses in nearby towns
18 struck down by lightning, 5 killed when wall collapses due to heavy rain
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, have been charged with the murder of Kim, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February.
Clashes with ISIL-linked Maute militants to end soon, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. says
The Chinese foreign ministry urged Pyongyang in a statement to refrain from activities that go against United Nations Security Council resolutions.
6-day conference sees 37 of 45 principles agreed but no deal on states' autonomy
Rescue workers recover 29 bodies buried under debris, India helps in relief efforts
President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law across the southern third of the Philippines shortly after the fighting erupted, warning the gunmen were involved in an effort by the ISIL group to set up a local caliphate.
Fire weapons 'instead of throwing rocks at us,' says Gen. Bipin Rawat
News of the launch comes as US President Donald Trump seeks tougher sanctions against the isolated nuclear-armed regime, which is on a quest to develop a missile capable of reaching the continental United States.
Under questioning, the 37-year-old admitted he had a dozen chunks of gold weighing 1.4 kilograms, or three pounds, stashed in his rectum.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim "watched the test of a new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system", which was aimed at "detecting and striking different targets flying from any direction".
The plane, which had departed from Kathmandu, broke into three pieces when it crashed in heavy fog while trying to land at Lukla airport on Saturday.
Tensions between the two economic superpowers have risen in recent years over the disputed waterway, which China claims almost in full despite counter-claims from other Asian nations.
"Until the police and the armed forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court, congress, they are not here," Duterte told soldiers on Saturday.
Floodwaters were receding in some areas after a break in the rain, giving authorities a chance to deliver much-needed supplies to victims who lost everything as torrents of water swept away their homes.