Student arrested for leading constitution protest in Rangoon

Student arrested for leading constitution protest in Rangoon

A student has been detained for his involvement in a protest in downtown Rangoon earlier this week when hundreds of students demanded the resignation of military MPs in Burma’s parliament.

Paing Ye Thu, a leading member of the University Student Union was arrested on Thursday near his house in North Okkalapa Township in Rangoon, according to fellow CUSU member Ye Zarni Tun.

“After we staged the demonstration on 30 June, there were some media reports quoting the police saying they had pressed charges against five of us,” said Ye Zarni Tun.

“As of now, we have not been formally notified about these charges, but one of our leaders, Ko Paing Ye Thu, was arrested in the street in his neighbourhood of North Okkalapa.

“We were told he was arrested by plainclothes police and sent to Rangoon division police headquarters.”

Speaking to DVB prior to his arrest, Paing Ye Thu said he and his colleagues had assumed that police were looking to press charges against whoever they believe had led the demonstration.

“I have stated that I do not have any faith whatsoever in Article 18 [Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act], and therefore, I will not be answering the court summons, sign an affidavit or seek bail if we are to be charged under that article.”

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Under Article 18 of the The Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act, a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment or a fine of 30,000 kyat (US$30) can be imposed on any persons found guilty of illegal protest.

On 30 June, dozens of people demanding charter reforms and the resignation of military MPs rallied in front of the Rangoon City Hall.

It has been reported that police intended to press charges against five organisers of the protest – Zeyar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Nan Linn, Ye Zarni Tun and Min Kyaw Thu. However, when DVB made inquiries on Thursday to the relevant police department in central Rangoon’s Kyauktada Township, an officer said no charges have been pressed.

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