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Cyclone benefit concert stopped by authorities

Jun 2, 2008 (DVB), A comedy performance organised by comedians Maung Moe and U Kyaw Kyar to raise money for cyclone victims was stopped by the Dramatic Arts Association.

Pa Pa Lay, a member of the Moustache Brothers, one of the acts due to perform at the benefit, said the show was halted just before it was due to start.

"We were told it was confirmed, so we had rehearsed all our sketches and music, but just before we came out in front of the audience, we were stopped by the Dramatic Arts Association," Pa Pa Lay said.

"A guy named Win Kyaing, the association’s secretary, who was accompanied by other officials, told us to postpone the show until 4 June."

Pa Pa Lay said the authorities had been keeping a close watch on the preparations for the concert.

"We had a sponsor who cooked a meal for 100 people at the show, but the government’s intelligence officers followed his truck when he was delivering the food to us," he said.

"Then they just sat in a tea shop near our house and took photos of everyone who came in and out throughout the day."

Pa Pa Lay said he thought there could have been a misunderstanding about the purpose of the performance because it coincided with the five-year anniversary of the Depayin massacre on 31 May.

"But we were only doing it for the cyclone victims," he said.

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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