Rangoon remains under heavy security

Mar 17, 2008 (DVB), Heavy security has been deployed in front of Rangoon City Hall and a convoy of police and military vehicles have been seen patrolling the city, a Rangoon resident said.

There has been a heavy police presence at City Hall and at busy junctions, while military, police and fire brigade vehicles were seen driving around the former capital between the downtown area and Insein township.

A resident of the city said the security was "ridiculously heavy", with armed government guards at the busy Sule and Hle Dan junctions.

"It’s almost like a war zone, there are even tanks, fire engines and prison trucks , in total about 30 vehicles are circling the town," said the resident.

"There are only a few people out on the streets."

The resident said that the convoy was led by three military trucks, followed by about five or six vehicles carrying riot police armed with batons and shields.

They were followed by another two military trucks carrying soldiers armed with stationary machine guns and G4 rifles, with more riot police cars, fire engines and prison trucks behind them.

Locals first noted heightened security in Rangoon at the beginning of this month, which some speculated was linked to United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari's visit to Burma from 6 to 10 March.

But the continued military and police presence could also be a show of force in anticipation of popular discontent surrounding the upcoming constitutional referendum.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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