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Burmese peace march organizers to be charged

Leaders of a peace march in Rangoon on the International Day of Peace on Friday face charges for marching without a permit, said the Rangoon Police Chief.

Peace marchers wound through Rangoon to the center of the city in spite of the denial of a permit. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima
Peace marchers wound through Rangoon to the center of the city in spite of the denial of a permit. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima 
The Rangoon peace march was organized by 19 civil society groups, and attracted a large turnout on Friday as it wound its way through Rangoon, eventually ending near the city’s center.

Similar demonstrations took place in other areas of the country. A permit to march in Naypyitaw, the capital, was also denied by the authorities.

A circuitous route through Rangoon was taken because the authorities had banned the group from marching on Pyay Road.

The marchers passed out a five-point statement calling for a halt to fighting in ethnic regions around the nation.

Yangon Police Region’s Major Myint Htwe said at a news conference, “We are going to sue these people in 10 township police stations because they broke the law.”

“We did not grant permission for those activities because they involved a lot of people who created disturbances and caused traffic jams.

“Everybody in the world loves peace and the government also loves peace. Our police force has to perform its duty under the law; we are not taking action against them because they are peace activists but because they broke the rules,” he said.

Major Myint Htwe said the march organizers could have appealed the denial of permission “but they went ahead with their plans regardless.”

Daw Naw Hla Hla Soe of the Women Organisation Network of Myanmar (WON) said, “We legally sought permission in advance for the demonstration on the International Day of Peace. After the authorities refused it, we negotiated with them again and again. As our application was not accepted in time, we had to stage this campaign on this occasion in Yangon,” according to an article on Monday in the Eleven News journal on Saturday.

 “Our president is making efforts for lasting peace by forming respective committees. So we are taking part in the policy and with the government as much as we can. If action is taken over the staging of such a peaceful protest, the image of Myanmar will decline in the international community,” she said.

The decision to bring charges against the organizers was criticized by Khin Sandar Nyunt, a member of the Peace Network, said The Myanmar Times on Saturday.

“International Peace Day is celebrated around the world; they shouldn’t be taking action like this,” she told the newspaper.
Last Updated ( Monday, 24 September 2012 16:58 )  

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