Authorities disrupt NLD Union Day activities

Feb 13, 2008 (DVB), Union Day celebrations planned by National League for Democracy members faced disruption and intimidation yesterday from local officials and Union Solidarity and Development Association members.

U Chit Htwe, a member of Taunggok NLD, went to Phaung Taw Oo pagoda yesterday at 8pm, having been turned away that morning when he went with other NLD members and young people to offer food to the monks.

Taunggok NLD deputy chairman U Than Pe said Chit Htwe was arrested as he tried to get past security at the pagoda.

"He went to the pagoda for a candlelight vigil, but as all three entrances had been shut down by the authorities since morning, he climbed over the fence to get in and was arrested by the pagoda security," Than Pe said.

Chit Htwe is currently being held at Taunggok police station, and had not been released as of 3pm today.

In Mandalay division, Taung Thar township NLD chairman U Than Myint said that the township Peace and Development Council chairman and USDA members came to ask if they were planning to celebrate Union Day, and warned them not to go ahead with any plans.

"On previous Union Days, they didn't come to ask these kinds of question, but this year they have been trying to find out about our plans," Than Myint said.

Than Myint said that the authorities had also checked on monasteries in the township to ensure monks were not accepting meal offerings from NLD members.

In a separate incident, around 400 USDA members went to an NLD celebration being held in Rangoon at around noon and took photographs of the event and the people attending.

Celebrations in Aung Lan township, Magwe division, attended by around 30 NLD members, took place under the close watch of local authorities and three military affairs security officials, according to one township NLD member.

In Sagaing division, NLD communications committee member Daw Khin Than said that the group had requested permission from the authorities to hold a Union Day celebration, but this was refused.

Reporting by Thet Naing, Nan Kham Kaew and Aye Nai

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