National League for Democracy members in Pegu who were planning to commemorate Burmese Martyrs’ Day on 19 July have been barred by the town’s authorities from assembling in front of statute of General Aung San.
Pegu’s NLD members on 6 July submitted a letter to municipal authorities seeking permission to mark Martyrs’ Day by laying wreaths in front of the statue of General Aung San in the town’s centre.
Yesterday morning, Pegu’s leading municipal official informed the group that permission to commemorate the day would not be granted on the grounds that it is a bad omen to lay wreathes in the centre of the town.
“The [township chairman] said the General Aung San statue was put there as a monument and that it’s a bad omen to lay wreaths in the town’s centre and thus permission wouldn’t be granted,” said Jama, one of the NLD members who met with the official.
According to the NLD member, the official suggested marking the day at the activists’ homes instead where they wouldn’t need government permission.
“We would take less than an hour at the statue”, said Jama.
“We’ll gather at 10am and give a salute at 10:37am [when Aung San’s cabinet was shot].”
The NLD members said they attempted to negotiate with the official but further requests at different locations were denied.
The group then proposed holding the commemoration ceremony at a local stadium and sought permission from the Ministry of Sports but was redirected to local authorities who had already denied their first requests.