Peace rally leaders call for investigation into police violence


YANGON — Leaders of a peaceful rally in support of the victims of civil war have called on the government to investigate police who violently broke up their demonstration in Yangon earlier this month.

Organisers of the May 12 protest in Tarmwe Township said yesterday they had written to members of the government, including President U Win Myint, to ask for justice.

“We have sent a letter calling for an investigation. We don’t have much hope of receiving a response, but we have to ask,” said Ma Ei Ei Moe, who participated in the demonstration.

Police armed with riot shields and batons dispersed the protest with assistance from plainclothes vigilantes, who attacked demonstrators as they were hustled into police vans.

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Seventeen protesters were arrested and charged by Bahan Township police under section 20 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, which carries a maximum sentence of one month imprisonment and a fine of K10,000.

They have since been released on bail and are due to appear in Bahan Township court on June 8.

“We have rights as citizens so we sent the letter. It is up to the president and other government officers how they respond,” said Ma Khin Sandar Tun, who also participated in the protest.

“We are being charged for protesting, but the police and plainclothes fighters attacked us. We hope that under the law we are equals and they will be brought to justice for abusing their power.”

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