Myanmar's president says he is prepared to use force to stop rioting


Myanmar president Thein Sein (center) greets supporters as he arrives at Yangon International Airport upon his return from a landmark tour of the US on October 1, 2012. Myanmar leader Thein Sein has said in an interview he would accept democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi as president if elected, but added he could not alone amend rules that bar her from power.



Myanmar's president Thein Sein said Thursday he is prepared to use force to stop the country's rioting by "religious extremists."

“I am firmly committed to use the power to deploy the security forces vested in me by the Constitution,” Thein Sein said in his first public comments since last week's anti-Muslim rioting killed at least 40 people.

He said it would be a “last resort to protect the lives and safeguard the property of the general public" in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

More from GlobalPost: Myanmar: Anti-Muslim violence spreads beyond Meikhtila

The BBC reported the violence is the result of religious disputes between the country's Buddhists and Muslims. A number of curfews are now in effect in areas where Buddhists have attacked Muslims.

On Wednesday, police allegedly opened fire on a gathering of 500 people.

Last week, a state of emergency was declared in Meiktila when a dispute at a gold shop resulted in violence.