Security forces break up NLD group

Jan 24, 2008 (DVB), A group of five National League for Democracy members who were walking in Taunggok township, Arakan state, yesterday were ordered to disperse by security forces, according to one of the group.

The NLD members had left a teashop near the Taunggok central market and were walking along U Ottama road in the direction of the Saung Kauk area when they were approached by a group of about 100 security forces led by police chief Win Aung Ni.

"They were fully equipped with batons and shields, like riot police, and they were acting in an intimidating way and getting ready to arrest us," said Moe Naing Soe, one of the five NLD members.

"When they reached us, they told us to disperse immediately," he said.

"We were told that there is nothing we can do in Taunggok to bring about change, and that what we are trying to do is not going to make any difference."

Moe Naing Soe said that authorities were continuing to closely monitor any signs of political activity in Taunggok.

"The town has been taken over by security forces – at the pagodas, in the teashops, on the roads, there are security forces everywhere you look," he said.

Security has been tight in Taunggok since 17 January, when authorities disrupted a planned demonstration against forced labour and economic mismanagement.

Two NLD youth members were arrested in the township on Tuesday after shouting slogans calling for democracy and the release of detained NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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