Bago activists launch banknote campaign

Sep 23, 2008 (DVB), One-kyat banknotes printed with anti-government slogans were distributed in Gyopinkauk township, Bago division, yesterday morning as part of a campaign to protest the actions of the military regime.

The notes bore a picture of Burma's national independence hero general Aung San and the slogans 'Down with the monk-killing military dictatorship' and 'Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi', according to one of those involved in the campaign.

"One-kyat banknotes with [slogans] and more than 150 pamphlets were scattered at 4am around the four cardinal points of the market, at Myomingaung clinic, the town hall, the municipal market and Leikpya Taung in the east," he said.

"It was at the time that monks were collecting their victuals and when hawkers were selling groceries, so the monks and people scrambled for them as they bore the picture of general Aung San and took them away."

When the authorities arrived on the scene, they confiscate the notes and pamphlets and tightened security and surveillance in the areas.

The campaign member said the group was mounting the campaign in protest at the repressive actions of the military government.

"Because they killed students, civilians and monks in 1988, and during Cyclone Nargis they ignored the suffering of the people and loss of lives and property and they forcibly conducted the referendum," he said.

"And they cracked down on the Saffron revolution and killed the monks, and they are going to hold the election without the support of the people in 2010."

In nearby Zeegone township, a market trader said customers had been using banknotes with slogans printed on them.

"Market traders didn’t notice it at first, we only found them the next morning when we were counting the money to pay it in," the trader said.

"When I asked people around me such as raw goods sellers, they said they had also found this on 20 and 50 kyat notes," he said.

"I obtained one 100 kyat note with the prayer, ‘May Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be free as soon as possible’ from someone who must want her to be freed. I also want her to be free so I kept it."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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