By Pei Hu
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
YANGONG, Myanmar – On December 30th, the Burmese government arrested nine peaceful protestors calling for the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Tun Tun Win, Tun Tun Linn, Pyae Pyae Aung, Win Myint Maung, Min Thein, Kaung Htet Hlaing, Phyo Wai,Yeni Soe and Htet Htet Oo Wai are members of the opposition party’s youth wing, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
According to a witness the protesters were wearing white Jasmine flowers symbolic of their “White Jasmine Campaign” to free Burma’s political prisoners. The arrest worried many locals as they do not know where the protestors had been taken.
Witnesses say that the protesters were marching down the former parliament building in the capital, carrying signs and banners for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi before they were violently beaten and “dragged” into a truck by the police.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest in Rangoon city for the past 13 years. The NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, however, the current military government of Burma, which has ruled the country since 1962 has never allowed any other party to take power.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma issued a statement condemning the arrest of the youth members and calls for their release. According to the Association, the current Burmese government has arrested more than 200 political prisoners in November 2008 alone.
Burma’s ruling military government, the People’s Power Force, has recently drafted a constitution paving the way for what it says will be democratic elections in 2010, but many critics are skeptical of the government.
For more information, please see:
BBC – Burma Activists Arrested at March – 30 December 2008
Global Voice – Myanmar: Nine Activists Arrested During Peaceful March – 30 December 2008
VOA – Burma Arrests 9 Pro-Democracy Protesters – 30 December 2008