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Authorities release solo protester, family

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is an 11 July 2007 statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

On 21 June 2007, Burmese authorities released a demonstrator in the western state of Arakan after detaining him for two days.

Maung Kyaw Naing, alias "Balagyi", was arrested on 19 June for staging a solo protest at a marketplace in Taungkok town, Arakan state, demanding a solution to the people's growing economic difficulties.

Following his arrest, local police raided his home and arrested his mother, Daw Thaung, and sister, Ma Khin Aye. Both were released the next day.

While detained, Balagyi was interrogated by the chairperson of Taungkok township, U Kyaw Khaing, according to a member of the pro-democracy party, National League for Democracy (NLD).

"They asked Balagyi mainly about whether he was controlled by the NLD, and whether he is a member of the NLD," the source said, adding that Balagyi and his family, however, were not forced to sign any sort of agreement for their release.

Balagyi and his family could not be contacted due to difficulties in getting connected over telephone.

The Burmese junta has full control of the media and censors talk of democracy, of detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi, of the current economic crisis and criticisms against authorities, leaving citizens with no choice but to take to the streets to make themselves heard, despite the real threat of arrest and torture.

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