The United States embassy in Rangoon has issued an apology via social media over an incident on Sunday when tear gas used in a security drill leaked outside the embassy compound, causing some distress and alarm in the neighbourhood.
The embassy’s Facebook page on 25 July said it had been conducting a routine security drill, and apologised for “inadvertently inconveniencing” passers-by and neighbours.
Pol-Maj Zaw Win, commander of Kamaryut township police, said the embassy has been warned not to repeat the mistake, and to inform authorities in advance of any similar drills in the future.
“The [embassy] was conducting a drill involving a tear gas canister when the gas leaked outside of the test area – the embassy security attaché has apologised for the incident,” said Zaw Win.
A local resident told DVB the tear gas had caused a minor panic.
“At first, we [neighbours] could smell it. Then it became unbearable, and people started running around. The fumes lingered for about 20-25 minutes, burning our eyes, and causing breathing difficulties,” he said.
Meanwhile, dozens of netizens were quick to take to social media to condemn the US embassy for failing to notify local authorities ahead of conducting such a security drill.
“We can barely tolerate your reckless actions,” wrote Win Htun Htwe on the embassy Facebook page.
Others questioned under what circumstances the US planned to deploy tear gas in Burma.