At least 30 Buddhist men carried out a series of attacks on Muslim homes in a village in Ayeyawady Region on Tuesday night, Myanmar Muslim Media has reported. The mob was reportedly upset about a relationship between a Muslim man and a Buddhist woman in the village.
Four Muslim homes in Ainthabyu village, Laymyatnhar Township, plus the families’ businesses and other property, were damaged during the violent frenzy.
“At first, they smashed the street light, and then, they attacked cars and houses with stones and swords. They did what day wanted to do for half an hour. Police arrived just as the attackers ran away,” one victim told Myanmar Muslim Media.
Another victim told the Friday Times: “[The police] told us not to go outside. And they also pressured us not to complain to the township administrator, warning that the situation could get worse if we do so. Actually, they threatened us instead of giving protection.”
Local police have also refused to open a case against the attacker, the victim added.
News of the attack has prompted netizens to criticize Myanmar’s weak rule of law:
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi campaigned on a platform promising to strengthen the country’s rule of law before her party won a majority of parliamentary seats in 2015. Many see that commitment as unfulfilled.
A popular singer is currently the target of a defamation lawsuit in Mandalay over a video she uploaded to Facebook in which she accuses a judge of corruption and Aung San Suu Kyi of failing to stamp out arbitrary exercises of power.