Argument Triggers Deadly Religious Riots in Burma
With 20 dead, president declares state of emergency
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 22, 2013 5:58 AM CDT
Burma firefighters walk around near a smoldering building as ethnic unrest between Buddhists and Muslims continues, in Meikhtila, Mandalay division, Burma, Friday, March. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

(Newser) – Religious riots between Buddhists and Muslims have rocked a central Burmese town for two days, leaving at least 20 dead and prompting President Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency, the AP reports. A local reporter estimated the number of dead at closer to 40, the New York Times notes. At least five mosques as well as Muslim homes have been torched in Meikhtila, a town of about 100,000 people, about a third of which are Muslim; angry Buddhists are preventing officials from extinguishing the blazes.

The violence reportedly began after a Wednesday dispute between a Muslim shopkeeper and Buddhist customers. After a Buddhist monk was killed, a mob took to the streets of a Muslim neighborhood. Violence has spread from Meikhtila to neighboring villages; locals say they're afraid to go outside and Muslims have reportedly fled to a nearby sports stadium. Police "just stood watching the rioters, and did not take any action," says a former political prisoner. The Times reports that journalists were forced by Buddhist monks, one armed with a sword, to relinquish their cameras' memory cards.

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Mar 23, 2013 12:25 AM CDT
I am so tired of reading about Muslim's killing Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia; Muslims shooting rockets into Israel to kill Jews; Muslims in western China killing Han Chinese; Muslims raping and rampaging in Sweden, England, the Netherlands, and the outskirts of Paris, - well, sorry if I have little sympathy for them this time. We see what happens when they become powerful - and how they oppress those who are not Muslims.
Mar 22, 2013 3:38 PM CDT
I do not blame the Buddhists...who would want the nasty muslims living by is not their country...they need to leave !
Mar 22, 2013 11:09 AM CDT
Umm, what was the argument about?