Local residents of Moenyin in southern Kachin State took to the streets on Saturday morning to protest against local authorities who, they say, have failed to tackle serious drug problems in the area, which is rife with heroin and methamphetamine use.
The demonstration was also targeting the local ethnic people who seem to regard drugs as a pastime rather than a social evil,” said Seng Naw, the information officer of the civic group that organised the event.
“Almost every household in this town suffers from some form of drug-related problem,” she told DVB on Saturday. “People have turned out in numbers to protest. We can say that the local authorities have taken some action, but not enough.”
Drug users in Moenyin are mostly young people, he said, but older people are also prone.
He said organisers had obtained official permission to stage the rally, and estimated that 250 locals would turn up. He said the protestors marched between two of the town’s main churches.
Most of the local population in Moenyin are ethnic Shan, though Kachins are also represented.
In October, protestors also took to the streets of Banmauk in Sagaing Division, calling for official measures to tackle rampant drug problems in that region.
Last month, DVB published a controversial video documentary showing some of the shattered lives that have resulted from drug addiction in northern Shan State. *WARNING: graphic images of drug use.