Labour activist arrested in Mandalay after protest

Labour activist arrested in Mandalay after protest

Police detained labour activist Aye Thein who was assisting vendors that were protesting potential relocation in Mandalay’s Kidan Market yesterday.

About 100 vendors protested in front of a municipal administration building before Aye Thein was arrested.

According to a Mandalay-based journalist who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Aye Thein was seen negotiating with authorities, which included the city’s mayor, the district administration director and a police commander, before being arrested.

The activist’s family was told that the police were holding Aye Thein, but they were unclear on what he was being charged with.

Aye Thein was also providing assistance to child soldiers and forced-labour victims who were seeking assistance from the ILO.

Family member Ma Moe said she went to Mandalay’s Police Station-3 yesterday morning after learning that Aye Thein was being detained there but was not allowed to see him.

“I was told around 8am that U Aye Thein was at the Policed Station-3 so I went there around 9am but was told it was not possible to see him,” said Ma Moe.

She said family members returned to the police station again in the afternoon but were unable to meet with Aye Thein but were allowed to send in food and personal items.

While Burma has plunged into a series of reforms in the past year, many experts say the moves are being driven from the top down. Unions and protests are now legal on tentative terms; however, this has not stopped local police from shutting down demonstrations and summarily arresting participants.

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