Pro-junta group drops charges against USDA

Feb 2, 2010 (DVB), Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics said it has dropped charges against members of another pro-junta group, the Union Solidarity and Development Association, who attacked them last year.

"We decided to drop the charges," said Ye Htun, vice chairman of UMFNP. "The USDA, the general administration department and the home affairs ministry are involved in the case. We aim to proceed with politics on a nationwide scale and we do not wish to have problem with groups like these."

Ye Htun also insisted that the group was not pressured by the authorities to drop charges.

"We are postponing a planned news conference on the attack. Apart from that, we are going ahead with [the election campaign] in divisions and states. But there have been difficulties with local authorities in places regarding registry status of our group," he admitted.

"We will register straight away once we are allowed. If we can't go ahead because we can't register, then there will be no politician in the country and the seven-step road map will mean nothing."

The UMFNP, formed by former student leader Aye Lwin, is known to have close ties to Burma's ruling junta. Although it is not registered as a political party, it is allowed to run offices and campaign in townships outside of Rangoon with assistance from local authorities. It also supports the junta’s ‘seven-step roadmap’ to democracy.

In December last year, UMFNP members were attacked by a 200-strong mob led by a senior USDA member while former were celebrating the opening of their branch office. Five were hospitalized.

Charges were subsequently lodged by the UMFNP against the mob, who then retaliated by pressing charges of their own, including for sedition and disturbing government officials on duty.

Reporting by Maung Too

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