Riot at concert after rapper arrested

Nov 19, 2007 (DVB), Burmese rapper G-Tone was taken away by police as he left the stage at a concert last night after he showed a religious tattoo to the crowd during his performance, according to an audience member.

During a hip hop festival at Mya Yeik Nyo hotel at around 9pm, G-Tone took off his shirt and turned his back to the audience to reveal a tattoo of two hands clasped in a prayer position holding prayer beads.

Immediately after the gesture, police and fire brigade officials went towards the stage to arrest him, but were persuaded by other musicians to wait until the end of his set to avoid making a scene.

As soon as G-Tone left the stage, he was arrested and handcuffed by the police, still in view of the crowd.

The rapper's arrest provoked an angry reaction from the crowd, who started shouting at the police.

In response, the police went into the crowd and began beating up audience members, who were mostly young people and high school students, including 8th and 9th graders.

The incident grew into a riot as the audience became increasingly angry at the police.

When other musicians tried to intervene to stop the police, they too were hit, including popular hip hop musicians Kyat Pha and Yatha, who was kicked when he tried to stop the police.

Kyat Pha's band 9mm has been banned by the regime for distributing political songs by other artists at a concert.

The manager of the Mya Yeik Nyo hotel told the other musicians to calm the crowd by telling them G-Tone had gone home and had not been arrested, and the show was brought to a premature end.

It is not clear if G-Tone is being held by police or has been released.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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