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Ten farmers from Hpa-an in Karen State have been charged for protesting without permission.
The ten were part of more than 100 local villagers who attended a rally in Hpa-an on 25 August calling for the return of lands they allege were seized from them by the military government in 1986.
Four of the ten are members of the 88 Karen National Union; they were each given four months’ imprisonment for leading the protest. Six others, all farmers, were handed either one month in jail or a 20,000 kyat (US$20) fine at the trial in the Karen State capital on 29 October.
Speaking to DVB on Friday, Saw Maung Gyi, the chairman of the 88 Karen National Union group, said, “Charging farmers and imprisoning protestors will not solve Burma’s land issues.”
The farmers claim the government seized more than 4,000 acres of land from nine villages in Hpa-an Township in 1986. They said they had resorted to public protests after receiving no reply after submitting claims to the related government departments.