Curfew imposed over parts of Myanmar

May 29, 2013 at 9:52 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, May 29 (UPI) -- The security situation in northern Myanmar was calm after authorities said they imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in response to religious violence.

Two mosques and more than a dozen shops were set on fire during riots in Lashio in northern Myanmar. Riots were sparked Tuesday by the arrest of a man who set a gasoline vendor on fire this week, China's official Xinhua News Agency reports.

Authorities said they imposed a curfew after about 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the city's square demanding the release of the suspect. Xinhua didn't report on the religious affiliation of the suspect or the vendor.

Violence between Buddhists and Muslims has overshadowed political developments in Myanmar.

International sanctions pressure has eased on Myanmar in response to democratic reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Human rights groups have expressed concern that easing economic pressure could prompt Myanmar authorities to take security less seriously.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday it was stepping up its work in Myanmar in response to sectarian violence.

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