Nay Pyi Taw February 21
A news report was issued on 20 February saying that an incident in Mandalay occurred after those from CDM in Seinpan Ward of Mandalay attempted in a hostile and disruptive manner to prevent two vessels of Ayeyawady Branch of Inland Water Transport from leaving Gaw Wein Jetty of Mandalay for Bhamo for no apparent reason.
Although officials and security forces from the scene eased the tensions with necessary negotiation but those from CDM did not accept it. As those hostile persons shouted noisily and attempted to commit violent acts to bar the vessels from leaving without easing tension, the security forces in combination with members of the security police control com-mander’s office acted systematically in accord with the procedure such as giving warnings through loudspeakers about respect for the existing laws and removal of the blockades and making negotiations with them.
However, some of protesters wanting to commit noise and disturbance used abusive language and made attacks with bricks, stones, slingshots and harpoons against the security forces. The security forces gave a further warning through loudspeakers to stop their violence and do dispersion.
As they did not stop, the security forces dispersed the crowds with the use of water cannon by following the prescribed crowd dispersal methods.
Still, they came to carry out more attacks on the security forces with bricks, stones, slingshots, harpoons and iron hooks from the homes, streets and schools. Consequently, some security forces were injured and some security vehicles damaged.
It was found that those involved in the incident made violent attacks even to harm the lives of the security forces with intent to commit riots and then anarchic mobs on the pretext of CDM without staging a peaceful protest. The security forces only took actions in accord with the prescribed laws, rules and disciplines. They handled the riot inevitably so it could not turn into anarchic acts.
The information about the inci-dent was as follows:-
I went along with the comman-der of the District Police Force to the Inland Water Transport (Office). Arriving there, we tried to mix with the crowd, but we were blocked by the protesters aiming to obstruct us. Then, we realized that we were in the middle of the crowd that blocked us with the blockade with the motor vehicles. Moreover, we were impeded with barrels, bared wires, hand carts as well as the placards. Thus, the whole road was blocked. At that time, the commander of the District Police Force urged the protesters to avoid barricade as the Section 144 has been imposed. Then, he carried on saying that they could stage protest. He also said that the police force will not crack down the protests. They all could stage protest peacefully. The commander went on saying that we came here on duty, announcing with the loudspeaker. Nonetheless, the crowd disobeyed and blocked us again with the barriers. Then, the Police Battalion joined us. The protesters placed the towed vehicles and barbed wires on the road in order to obstruct the police personnel. Moreover, they broke the bottles and scattered the pieces of them on the road. The protesters blocked the both sides of the road by placing the barrels side by side. So, we were sand-wiched between the crowds. Then, the protesters began to attack us by using the catapults after negotiations conducted with them were failed. So, we were forced to protect ourselves with the shields without any resistance so far. After that, the protesters attacked us with the catapults, bottles, iron hooks as well as cones from every direction. So, we were forced to protect ourselves when the protesters harassed us all at once. Then, we managed to join other police members by pushing the protesters and crowds. Unfortunately, I was hit with something like one of the cones shot by the protesters. But, I managed to join the other group of police force by encouraging my colleagues to retreat when I was hit by some bricks. That is why I sustained those injuries.
We were attacked by stones and sticks by the protesters from both sides. I was blocked by them as soon as I arrived at the scene of protest. The protesters blocked me at the back. They included the children and the young women. They threw us with the stones and bricks before escaping into the streets. We could not prevent their attacks. Their manner was not like staging a protest, but a deliberate terrorist act. Their behavior was just like attacking the terrorists. I was disappointed, really. We are just employees of the nation discharging our duties. It was not realistic when they were doing cursing and blaming one-sidedly. We, employees of the nation who have been facing this situation, also have feeling too. They are our own people. How should we hurt them? But, they are extremely badmannered. Do they hate us so that they could throw us with the stones? I also have emotion. They just criticized us unfairly. I think that they should have thought fair and square. Sometimes, they were acting that we did not have families and they only had their parents and siblings. I do not think that should be like that. That is one point. We came forward as the convoy was about to leave. When we left, they suddenly came out of the streets and threw us with the sticks, stones and catapults. That was not like peaceful protest. We could tolerate their acts such as spitting on us, blaming without staging protest peacefully. There are regulations and rules. We have been acting within the rules. There are no cruel persons who ordered us. We could see the people who wished to protest peacefully. Also, there are people who wished to terrorize. Those who wished to terrorize threw us stones. Some people even used the steel balls used in motor bikes. I was hit by something unknown. That is the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Most of the police personnel were hit.
However, we could not speak it out.
I work odd-job. I am jobless, so I went to Gaw Wein jetty to seek job. As restrictions of travel are imposed, I went there whether I could get freight handling work or not. I asked my friend about job. While asking my friend, there was a large crowd of people. When I asked my friend about further information, he told me the crowds hindered to the vessels not to leave there. So, I went back. At that time, the crowds were larger and larger gradually. They packed there. People from the wards came there gradually.
They held knives, sticks and catapults. Despite preparing to return, we could not do so. We were in the crowds without any outlet. The scene was blocked by police vehicles. Police members urged the crowds to disperse. I saw and heard that police members urged the people to return home and not to crowd. But, those of crowds did not follow it. For the time being, more and more people arrived there. Although officials and police members urged them to disperse, they did not follow it. Then, more police vehicles arrived the scene. But police members could not do anything. Riotous protesters threw stones to the police members. An official of the jetty urged those protesters not to throw stones. Those protesters stopped a moment when the official urged them. Then, they restarted throwing of stones. When officials and police members held talks, the riotous protesters threw stones again behind those officials. The road was full of various items including bottles. The protesters used catapults. At that time, police members did nothing. Police members aboard the vehicles urged the crowds to peacefully return home. Some of protesters used iron hooks. Some rioters who came out from the wards attacked police members with catapults. I heard many police members suffered from attacks of catapults. I saw a police might suffer from serious injury. He fell on the road with injury at head. I don’t know how he was attacked. I think he was thrown by bottle. The police member might be serious injured at his head. I don’t know alive or dead conditions. I also waited for such information. Many police members were injured due to attacks behind them. The rioters from the western ward attacked police members. So, police members from vehicles in far distance may not be bad but those from nearby vehicles may be seriously injured.
Receiving information that our first team was surrounded by a large crowd of people, we went to ask for help of Mandalay Region Police Force and our convoy was attacked with glasses, bricks, nuts and iron hooks from the main road. Despite their throwing of those things, we plunged into the crowd and reached there. We negotiated with them again. We tried to solve the problem but we couldn’t. It was not like they were protesting peacefully. Violently, they threw bricks and sticks and whatever they got at us. As we could not compromise with them, we had to shield ourselves and tried to move out of the crowd. Then, I hurt my leg as they threw a stone at it.