More than 100 jailed for curfew violations in Mandalay

About 120 people were jailed as of yesterday for violating the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in Mandalay last week following the latest outbreak of anti-Muslim violence to hit Myanmar, according to Mandalay District police.

This followed President Thein Sein's vow to prosecute any one involved in the deadly clashes.

The rioting began on the evening of July 1, leaving residents of the country's second-largest city in a panic. One Buddhist and one Muslin man were beaten to death on July 2 and 3. Six townships were placed under curfew on July 3, with 145 people detained for violating it on the first night.

A seventh township, Patheingyi, was added on the weekend after a Buddhist mob set fire to a Muslim cemetery, following the funeral of one of the slain men.

Police said yesterday that almost 300 people had been apprehended for violating the curfew. Township courts had sentenced 118 of them to jail for seven to 15 days each. More than 30 received seven-day sentences and the rest 15 days, police said. Others have been released on bail.

Authorities imposed a partial curfew from Thursday in six of Mandalay's townships, and deployed thousands of troops. During the curfew, public gatherings, marches and speeches were banned, in addition to the curfew imposition from 9pm to 5am.

On the first day of the curfew police detained 145 people for violating it, but released them after issuing warnings.

Forty-three of the 45 people apprehended for curfew violations in Pyigyitagon township - where the Muslim cemetery was desecrated - were given 15 day sentences, police said. Only two were released on bail, they added.

Police said that almost all those released on bail would be tried in court. They said that in some townships there were too many cases for the local courts to handle.

More than 100 people were detained on Monday night for violating the curfew, police said.

State media reported yesterday that President Thein Sein called on the public to help expose the instigators and rioters.

"I urge all citizens to cooperate with government in exposing the rioters and learn lessons from it on how to avoid such cases in any other part of the country," the president said.

He urged citizens to respect the rights of minority groups, and condemned the riot instigators for fomenting hatred between communities.

"We will also take action if freedom of expression harms the security of state," Thein Sein said.