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Buddhist ceremony disrupted in Taunggok

May 21, 2008 (DVB), Local police in Taunggok, Arakan State, disrupted a water pouring ceremony held by local residents and National League for Democracy members on Monday to mark the day the Buddha attained enlightenment.

Taunggok residents sand NLD members marched to a monastery in Kaingshay village with Burmese drums and an amplifier to celebrated the annual Buddhist ceremony by pouring water onto a banyan tree.

They were followed by police officers with sticks and shields all the way to the monastery.

The argument between two parties began when residents felt that the police presence was disturbing the Buddhist ceremony, one resident said.

"It wasn't a rally. NLD members and residents from nearby villages just went to a monastery together to pour water onto a banyan tree," the resident said.

"Buddhists hold the ceremony on that day every year," he said.

"I don't know how the authorities interpreted the event."

The resident said that the police had warned an NLD member he would be arrested if he would not erase photographs he had taken of the police officers.

DVB was also informed that a child with hearing and mental problems who was watching the crowd pouring water was hit by police when he did not hear their orders to move from where he was sitting.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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