Cinema-goers face bomb searches

Feb 6, 2008 (DVB), Security forces in Rangoon have been conducting thorough searches of audience members at the city's cinemas to look for explosive devices, cinema-goers said.

One audience member said that uniformed police and plain-clothes intelligence officers had been searching everyone for bombs before they entered the cinema.

"They search all the bags and backpacks of every audience member before they let them go inside the theatre," he said.

"Once inside, we are not allowed to go back out, not even to answer a phone call."

Another cinema-goer said the additional security measures were an inconvenience to audience members.

"If someone wants to leave the cinema before the movie finishes, they have to have their fingerprints taken by security officials. It’s very annoying to undergo these procedures when you just come to watch a movie," the cinema-goer said.

These sentiments were echoed by a third audience member.

"I don’t like the way they treat us like criminals with their serious faces while they search us. I come to the cinema for recreation, not to stage a revolution," he said.

But officials at the Thanmada cinema in Rangoon defended the measures.

"These security measures are preventing the public from being victimized by bad people," an official said.

"Bad people are unpredictable and they think of everything."

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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