Bago couple arrested for challenging government protests

Oct 19, 2007 (DVB), Two former schoolteachers were arrested on 16 October after they spoke out against a pro-government rally in Paung Tal township, Bago division.

At around 5am on Tuesday, a group of pro-government protestors were marching past the house of Tin Maung Oo and Ni Ni Mar shouting slogans against the recent monk-led demonstrations and in support of the National Convention.

On reaching the couple's house, the protestors saw a sign hung outside by Tin Maung Oo, denouncing those who torture and kill monks and civilians, which caused them to stop.

Ni Ni Mar stood in the doorway and challenged them about their support for the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations, embarrassing some members of the group.

"My sister asked the protestors if they really agreed with the killing of monks and civilians in Rangoon, and the government protestors stopped chanting slogans and some of them dropped their placards," Ni Ni Mar's sister told DVB.

One of the leaders of the government protest took photographs of the couple and their house, and the township police chief and two female police officers came to arrest them at 10pm that night.

The couple appeared in court yesterday charged under section 153 of the penal code for inciting a riot and section 505 (b) for causing public alarm or disturbing public tranquility.

They are due to appear in court for sentencing on 30 October. A violation of section 153 carries a possible six-month prison term, and section 505 (b) has a maximum two-year penalty.

Tin Maung Oo and Ni Ni Mar were both working as teachers but resigned from their jobs due to pressure on government workers to sign agreements promising not to get involved in demonstrations.

Reporting by Maung Too

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