Signboards removed by Mandalay authorities

Jul 25, 2008 (DVB), Local authorities in Mandalay have ordered the National Political League to take down signboards from their provincial and divisional offices, group leader Aye Lwin told DVB.

Aye Lwin said the group's signs on 41st and 22nd streets were temporarily taken down on the instructions of local authorities in two different townships.

"They said we had to get permission from the relevant authorities in order to do this and they promised to negotiate," he said.

"We had no problems with our signboards in Rangoon though."

Sources in Mandalay who closely monitored the incident said Aye Lwin had informed USDA secretary general Htay Oo, who is also minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, about the signs, but he failed to inform Industry (1) minister and USDA chairman Aung Thaung, who directed Mandalay divisional USDA chairman U Aung Kyaw Thar to take them down.

Aye Lwin suggested the incident had arisen due to a change of regional military commander in Mandalay, but said that Mandalay authorities had not taken down signs the group has been hanging at its offices for the past year saying, "Oppose sanctions against Burma".

"We approach this from a political point of view and they see things from their point of view which is based on maintaining security. So there is no one to be blamed," Aye Lwin said.

"Based on the situation in our country right now, we are seeing how much we can contribute to shaping a political system where everyone can participate."

In February this year, residents of Insein township, Rangoon, were angered by the local authorities' double standards in allowing Aye Lwin's pro-government 88 Generation Students (Union of Myanmar) group to hand out leaflets while opposition activists faced harassment or arrest if they tried to do the same.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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