Mandalay demonstration broken-up, protest at Shwedagon suspended

Anti-government protests led by monks in the country’s two biggest cities ended on August 5, with the authorities breaking up a demonstration in Mandalay and another in Yangon being suspended, media reports said.

The protests had begun on August 2 in the compound of the Maha Muni Pagoda in Mandalay and a temple near the eastern entrance of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

The hardline nationalist monks and their lay supporters had called for the resignation of the National League for Democracy government, accusing it of failing to protect the majority Bamar ethnic group and Buddhism.

The Mandalay protest was broken up in an operation launched in the early hours of August 5 and 11 monks and two women were detained, state-run media reported.

The report said six of the monks who were wanted on arrest warrants were defrocked by a senior sayadaw from the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the supreme body representing the community of monks, or sangha, in Myanmar.

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The other five monks were escorted back to their monasteries after giving written pledges to other senior sayadaws from the Mandalay Region branch of the committee, known by its acronym as Ma Ha Na.

The move against the Mandalay protesters came after they defied a order from regional government to disperse by 10pm on August 4.

The regional government said it issued the order at the request of Ma Ha Na, which had been granted authority to deal with the protesting monks by the Ministry of Religion and Cultural Affairs.

The demonstration in Yangon was “temporarily suspended” on the evening of August 5, a day after the protesters were asked to disperse by the Yangon Region Ma Ha Na, state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said.

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