Saturday, March 27, 2010

Arakanese Democratic Activists Stage Demonstration in Front of Burmese Embassy in Bangladesh

3/27/2010

Dhaka: About 30 Arakanese democratic activists staged a demonstration today in front of the Burmese embassy in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, protesting the election law and upcoming election.

Ko Naing Naing, coordinator of the demonstration said, "Today is the 65th anniversary of Burma's revolution day. So we came here to celebrate the day by staging a demonstration against the election law and forthcoming election."

The demonstrators stood in front of the Burmese embassy holding a banner and posters with Daw Aung Suu Kyi's portrait, and shouted slogans against the military government. Many officials from the embassy were closely watching the demonstration from the compound, but did not disturb the protesters.

U Khaing Kyaw Khaing, and elder politician in the group said, "All we Arakanese are being oppressed by the military junta. Our people have been oppressed by the Burmese military government for over 20 years, since they came to power in 1988. In the new constitution, there is nothing for our people's rights. There will only be continual oppression for our people with the new constitution. The situation of our people's lives will never change under the new constitution. How can we accept the constitution and upcoming election?"

U Khaing Kyaw Khaing is a native of Sittwe and was sentenced by the Burmese military government to two and a half years in prison for involvement in the 2007 Saffron Revolution protests in Sittwe. After his jail term was complete, he came to Bangladesh to continue the struggle for democracy.

U Thila Wan Tha, secretary of the International Burmese Monks Organization in Bangladesh, said, "We requested NLD leaders to follow Daw Aung Suu Kyi's instruction not to register with the election commission because the election law is neither just nor fair. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is our leader and all ethnic people respect her. If NLD leaders register with the election commission it is a betrayal to Burmese people as well as our leader Daw Suu. We can not accept the election law because it barred Daw Suu and other ethnic politicians from running in the election."

Although the demonstration was organized by Arakanese democracy activists, the demonstrators represented many organizations, including the International Burmese Monks Organization, the All Arakan Students' and Youth Congress, and the Rakhine Women's Union.

30 minutes after the demonstration began, Bangladesh police arrived to stop it. A police officer explained to demonstrators that the area is highly restricted and no one is allowed to stage protests in front of any embassy, however, the police took no further action against the demonstrators.

Demonstration began at 10 am and concluded peacefully and successfully at 10:30 am.

Ref: Narinjara

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