Religious Violence Shows How Far Myanmar Still Has to Go

Religious Violence Shows How Far Myanmar Still Has to Go

Last week, at least 32 people were killed amid violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the town of Meiktila in central Myanmar, according to the state news media. It took several days for the military to restore calm.

Jason Paul Abbott, Aung San Suu Kyi endowed chair and director at the University of Louisville’s Center for Asian Democracy, told Trend Lines that the events, in particular the military’s lack of haste in intervening to halt the violence, are indicative of the country’s broader power struggle over the ongoing reform process.

Myanmar is currently undergoing a transition to civilian government after being ruled by a military junta for more than half a century. But the process, which began when junta leader Gen. Than Shwe handed power to President Thein Sein in March 2011, remains far from complete.

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