Riot control training held in Rangoon

Dec 1, 2008 (DVB), Members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, Swan Arr Shin and the reserve fire brigade in Rangoon's Thanlyin and Thaketa townships have been given riot control training by police.

Local residents said the group members were to be incorporated into the reserve police force.

A Thanlyin resident said police delivered the training at Thiha Dipa stadium in the township for around 300 township USDA and Swan Arr Shin members.

"The training sessions were held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday," the resident said.

"They were told how to identify people when there is a riot and how to control them by beating them up with sticks."

The Thanlyin resident claimed many of those who attended the training were involved in illegal gambling syndicates and alcohol shops, but said the authorities had taken no action against them.

"Not only the authorities are not doing anything, they are even covering for them," he said.

"All they have to do in return is to come and do what they are told if there is any unrest."

The officer on duty at Thanlyin police station refused to comment on the allegations.

A resident of Thaketa said the police were also giving training to loiterers, petty thieves and police informers.

The Thaketa resident added that local USDA members were also allowed to ride motorcycles around Rangoon, despite the general public ban on riding motorbikes in the city.

Since the mass demonstrations in September last year, the police force has given riot control training to USDA and Swan Arr Shin members on several occasions.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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