UPDATED at 2:45 P.M. EST on 2019-02-01
At least 18 people were injured in central Myanmar on Friday when police fired on a crowd to try to stop a brawl between soccer fans and local villagers, witnesses told RFA’s Myanmar Service.
Two of the injured were in critical condition after the incident in Thayet township in Magway division of central Myanmar, the witnesses said.
According to the witnesses, the fight started when some soccer fans from Yebawkyun village, were traveling back from a local soccer match and got in a fight with residents of a town on the road.
“Young soccer fans on the way home patted a car along the road. When they were told not to do that by the owners, a quarrel erupted,” Thayet township administrative official Tun Shwe told RFA.
“One of the villagers phoned his village and called for support and that was how it started,” he said, adding that local authorities were still seeking details.
“Some villagers later on attacked the police with sticks and swords and the police had to respond with rubber bullets. Two of the 18 have serious injuries and are now in hospital for treatment and the rest sent back home,” added Tun Shwe.
“The situation has calmed down and the villagers went back to their homes about 7:30 p.m.,” he said.
Aye Yu Maw, a lawmaker from Magway, gave a similar account of the brawl.
"Young soccer fans were, I think, a little drunk after their team won the match. On their way home, they ‘touched’ a car and a quarrel ensued with the brother-in-law of the car owner, who punched the boy.” he told RFA.
Magway police told RFA late on Friday that the situation is under control.
Reported by RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Paul Eckert.