Thursday, 14 November 2019

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USDP MP suggests banning monks from taking part in demonstrations

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – An MP from Burma’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party put forward a motion in the Upper House on Tuesday suggesting a prohibition on Buddhist monks’ “rights to peacefully assemble and march” in a procession, effectively banning their involvement in demonstrations, according to Upper House MPs.
Ruling party USDP MPs in traditional dress in the Burmese Parliament.  Photo: Mizzima
Upper House MP Khin Maung Yi, the retired chief of the Irrawaddy Region Education Department, of Irrawaddy Region constituency No. 6 suggested that the ban should be imposed, effecting monks and employees of airlines and the water supply department.

Another USDP MP, Saw Tun Aung, of Karen State constituency No.5 complained that the government has only recently assumed power and the rights to hold a demonstration should not be granted until a future date.

On the other hand, Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) members, one of the opposition parties in Parliament, spoke out for the right to peacefully assemble and march. The party suggested that Township Administrative offices should decrease the time allowed for demonstrations.

According to a bill approved by the Lower House on September 27, permission to demonstrate must be sought seven days in advance from the township administrative office concerned.

RNDP MP Ohn Tin of Arakan State constituency No. 10 said the time should be reduced from seven days to three days.

A bill committee will review the bill and send it to the Upper House again. The bill was submitted in September by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Lower House. The Lower House approved the bill.

The bill comprises eight chapters governing such areas as the number of protestors, allowed locations and required biographies of leaders to be submitted to authorities.

The bill says that anyone who assembles or holds a demonstration without permission can be sentenced up to one year in prison and fined and anyone who harms demonstrators can be sentenced up to two years in prison.

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