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Religious unrest simmers in Myanmar

March 23, 2013 at 2:16 PM

MEIKHTILA, Myanmar, March 23 (UPI) -- Buddhists and Muslims clashing in Myanmar have led the military to declare a state of emergency and at least 20 people are dead, officials said.

Voice of America said truckloads of government soldiers in the military-run state could be seen patrolling the streets in Meikhtila, about 80 miles north of the capital Naypyidaw. The violence began when a Muslim shopkeeper and Buddhist customer got into an argument that spilled into the street Wednesday. By Friday, much of the city had burned and gangs of both sides were roaming the streets.

Humanitarian groups were in the area providing food and shelter to displaced residents.

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