Protestors blockade Kamaryut court as nationalist trial continues


YANGON — Supporters of four nationalist leaders facing trial for an unlawful protest last year blockaded the entrance of Kamaryut Township court Thursday, as the detention of four men on unlawful assembly charges continues.

Around a dozen monks and 50 others blocked the front entrance to the court during a 45-minute long protest at noon, staged before that day’s hearing was called to order.

Police stood guard outside the court but did not intervene in the blockade, which eventually dispersed of its own accord.

Protesters had called for the release of the four men, held on remand since last month for helping organise the April 2016 anti-Rohingya protest outside the United States embassy, and the dropping of criminal charges against three monks.

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All three monks, including prominent former Ma Ba Tha member and nationalist campaigner U Parmaukha, are defendants in the embassy protest trial. As with earlier proceedings, none of the trio attended Thursday’s hearing.

After a short appearance at 1:30pm, the other four defendants were escorted back to Insein Jail under armed guard.

Demonstrators say they intend to escalate their protests for future hearings.

The trial continues on June 8.

Bail refused in Mingalar Taung Nyunt case

On the other side of Yangon, a judge at the Mingalar Taung Nyunt court refused bail Friday for the four men and one woman held on incitement charges following a confrontation between nationalist activists and Muslim residents in that township last month.

Defence lawyer U Aye Paing said that the accused had pledged to face the charges, but the bail application was refused on account of the severity of the charges.

The group had travelled to the township on the evening of May 9 in what they claimed was a search for “illegal immigrants”, leading to a heated stand-off between the defendants and local residents that left at least one local severely injured. Police eventually dispersed the crowd by discharging their sidearms into the air.

Two monks involved in the incident, U Thu Seitta and U Pyin Nyar Wuntha, who are also co-defendants in the embassy protest trial, remain at large despite the court issuing an arrest warrant for the pair.

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