The number of police deployed for this year’s Thingyan water festival was “enough” to maintain security, Rangoon Division’s police force said in a statement on Wednesday.
Although no specific figure was mentioned, a report last month said that 7,000 regional police officers would be assigned to two rotating groups throughout the holiday.
The statement said that police had been sent to provide security at 96 Thingyan stages around the former capital. The stages, known as manduts in Burmese, attract large groups of young revelers and are often the focus of illicit activities, such as excessive drinking and drug use, fighting and sexual assaults.
In addition to regular police and drug enforcement officers, the number of traffic police has also been stepped up to deal with an expected spike in accidents over the 10-day holiday period.
The increased police presence appeared to be having some effect, as fewer fatal accidents were reported in Rangoon on the first day of the festivities, according to police sources.
Lt.-Col. Win Myint Oo of the city’s number 2 traffic police station told DVB that there were only two fatal accidents on 12 April, compared to 10 on the same day last year.
The decrease was partly attributed to a reduction in the number of commercially-run Thingyan stages in Rangoon this year as a result of restrictions imposed by the new National league for Democracy-led Rangoon Division government.