Exiled Burmese groups close following rumours of Thai crackdown

Mar 12, 2009 (DVB), Exiled Burmese opposition groups based in Thailand's border town, Mae Sot, were forced to close down their offices following rumours of a crackdown on Burmese migrants by Thai authorities.

A Burmese democracy activist in Mae Sot told DVB that rumours of a possible crackdown by the Thai government has spread among the Burmese community in Mae Sot following a demand on the Karen National Union last week to leave Thailand.

"We are living in paranoia now," he said. "We have to give ourselves a very low profile and avoid gathering in a large groups to avoid drawing attention from the authorities."

Dr. Naing Aung, General Secretary of the Forum for Democracy in Burma, said the Thai government should be considerate towards Burmese groups based in their country, in order to develop good bilateral relations, and for the sake of regional stability.

"The Thai government should allow groups working for democracy and human rights in Burma to work freely for what they believe," he said.

Nyo Ohn Myint, Foreign Affairs Coordinator of Thailand-based National League for Democracy-Librated Area, said it was too early to say what the motives of the Thai government were.

"We can't definitely say yet that the Thai government is doing this according to their new policy," he said. "This could be just a security measure in the region, the Tak province."

"We are now preparing to raise this issue with Mr Abhisit during an international meeting with him in the coming month."

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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