Sign up for weekly updates

Authorities arrest protester for criticising military junta; his mother and sister also detained

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Solo protester arrested

Police arrested a solitary protester in Taung Goat, in Arakan state, on the morning of 19 June 2007, after he had demonstrated for half an hour against the military junta.

Maung Kyaw Naing (a) Balagyi staged his protest on the 62nd birthday of imprisoned political leader and Nobel peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, demanding a solution to the severe inflation rate and the creation of jobs for the unemployed.

A few hours later, his mother and his sister, Daw Thaung, 49, and Ma Khin Aye, 23, were arrested at their home, according to a neighbour.

"They haven't been back home yet and we don't know why," the neighbour told Mizzima.

Relatives have yet to learn where the three detainees are being held.

In past months, as the economic crisis in the country has worsened, there have been small, sporadic protests by citizens to express their discontent with the military junta, denied as they are a forum in the government-controlled media.

The highly secretive authoritarian regime censors information on the topics of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, criticisms against the junta and the current economic crisis.

Despite the real threat of arrest, some citizens continue to make their critical stance known through various forms of "expressive conduct", from protests and leafleting, and recently, even prayers. In May, more than 70 people were arrested for attending prayer services in various pagodas in the former capital Rangoon, held for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 17 years under house arrest since her initial detention on 20 July 1989. The political party she leads, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won elections in a landslide in 1990, but the junta ruling then and now has never recognized the results. On 27 May 2007, when her latest term of house arrest was up for review, the junta extended it for another year.

Latest Tweet:

Turkey: Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı, Asena Günal and Bora Sarı, who were among the 13 academics and rights advocates…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.