NLD member slams independence day disruptions

Jan 10, 2008 (DVB), A National League for Democracy member who was detained to prevent him attending an independence day celebration has claimed that authorities did all they could to disrupt the NLD event.

NLD member Dr Aung Moe Nyo was detained on 2 January, along with five other members of Pwint Phyu NLD, as they were preparing to travel to Yay Nan Chaung to attend an independence day celebration at the home of NLD chairman U Khin Win.

The six were arrested at midnight during an overnight stop in Nyaung Pin Zauk village on the way to Yay Nan Chaung, and were detained for two nights.

To stop other members crossing the river to Yay Nan Chaung, Pwint Phyu authorities closed the jetty all day on 3 January, which caused problems for other travellers and meant that boatmen and oarsmen lost a day’s income.

The six were held at Pwint Phyu township police station, where they were interrogated by U Aung Ngwe Kyi, a police official.

The detainees were asked about their planned route to Yay Nan Chaung as well as their opinion on the seven-step road map laid out by the military government.

After responding to all the questions, they were asked to sign an interrogation form but they refused, in accordance with the directions from the central NLD party.

Instead, they wrote a letter stating that they had given genuine answers to the questions asked of them.

During the interrogation, Dr Aung Moe Nyo claimed he overheard instructions given to the police official by Peace and Development Council chairman U Hla Htay over the telephone.

The PDC chairman reportedly told U Aung Ngwe Kyi to continue questioning the group and keep them under pressure to prevent them attending the independence day celebrations.

"I heard [U Hla Htay] saying 'Keep questioning the bastards', 'Keep giving them pressure’, ‘Don’t release them until 9am on independence day,’ ‘Let them go if they are heading to the jetty but take all the oars away from the boats’ and ‘Keep all the keys from the motorboats," said Dr Aung Moe Nyo.

"I heard every word including 'If they carry on, ambush them with pellets using catapults' and 'Throw plastic bags full of faeces at them'."

Dr Aung Moe Nyo said that these excessive tactics were intended to stop the NLD members attending the ceremony, and claimed that officials were also told to be thuggish if the members were still determined to travel to the ceremony despite the delay.

Dr Aung Moe Nyo criticised the authorities' actions as disrespectful and inhumane.

"It is most disappointing to witness that authorities who are supposed to be working for peace and the development of the nation are acting more like thugs and criminals," Dr Aung Moe Nyo said.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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