Fifteen workers from the Sagaing-based Myanmar Veneer and Plywood Private Ltd (MVPPL) company have been given prison sentences by a court in Naypyidaw’s Tatkon Township for scuffling with police during a protest in May.
The group — 12 men and three women — were facing charges of unlawful assembly and rioting after a march from their workplace in Sagaing to the capital Naypyidaw ended in a physical confrontation with police in Tatkon. The workers were demanding government intervention in a dispute with their employer, who they accused of unlawfully dismissing workers for demanding overtime pay.
They were initially charged with unlawful assembly under Articles 143 and 145 of the Penal Code and sedition under Article 505(b). The court later dismissed the sedition charges against the three women.
The Tatkon court on Monday found the defendants guilty on all charges. The men were sentenced to five months imprisonment in total — two months each for the unlawful assembly charges, to be served concurrently, and three months for sedition. The three women will serve two months under the two unlawful assembly charges.
The defendants will be credited for time served since their arrest in May, according to their lawyer Aung Thurein Tun.
“The women will walk free today as the time they have already spent in jail has exceeded their term,” he said, adding that the men would have to remain behind bars for an additional three weeks to complete their sentences.