Thursday, March 11, 2010

Burmese Junta Beefs Up Security in Arakan as Electoral Laws Publicized

By Takaloo, Sittwe:

The Burmese military junta has ordered riot police to take necessary security measures in western Burma's Arakan State at the same time it has publicized laws for the upcoming election, said a police officer on Thursday.

The officers said that 300 riot police were pulled back on Wednesday from border fence construction sites on the western Burmese border on orders from the junta in order to strengthen deployments across Arakan State.


"We have to pull back 300 of our personnel, out of more than 500 being sent for fence construction work on the western border, as ordered by the higher authority for adding to our security deployments in the main towns of Arakan State," said the officer who spoke anonymously without official authorization.

He also added that police forces are being ordered to prevent any form of public unrest during the time that the SPDC has been enacting laws for the upcoming election.

According to a resident from Arakan's capital Sittwe, the military regime's move to beef up security is likely due to growing public attention on politics after it has started to publicize the new electoral laws.

"I find many people in our town are unusually reading news papers and listening to the radio programs from Burma and abroad as the junta releases laws for the coming election. Their attention to politics seems to be growing these days. That is likely why the junta has ordered its forces to step up security in the main towns in our state," said the resident.

Since the monk-led demonstrations in 2007, the military regime frequently doubles deployments of riot police at key locations, including near monasteries, in the main towns in Arakan State in order to maintain public peace during politically sensitive occasions.

According to the junta's political party registration law released yesterday, democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will not be able to participate in the election. The law says that anyone who has been convicted by a court and is currently serving prison terms can not join a political party or run as a candidate in the election.

The law also bars civil servants and Buddhist monks from joining political parties.

U Aye Thar Aung, the leader of the leading Arakanese political party, Arakan League for Democracy, said his party will not participate in the election unless the junta amends the 2008 constitution.

"Our party will not participate in the election if the military regime does not amend its 2008 constitution. There are no rights for the ethnic minorities like Arakanese in the 2008 constitution."

The Arakan League for Democracy was the third largest vote winner in the 1990 election that the Burmese junta never recognized.

Ref: Narinjara

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