Anti-nationalist protesters face charges of unlawful assembly

Police are planning to charge 16 youth activists with unlawful demonstration over an anti-nationalist protest they staged in Yangon on Tuesday, The Voice reported today.

The activists, who shouted slogans and carried banners near Hledan Junction, are accused of violating Section 18 of the Law on Peaceful Assembly, which requires protesters to obtain prior permission.

To avoid retribution, they covered their faces with black masks.

“They wore masks and protested for 10 minutes,” said deputy officer Thein Han from Kamaryut Township police. “We could only get photos when we went to check on them, after we were informed.

“When we investigated, we found out one leader was from Taung Ngoo District ABFSU [a student union body]. And we opened the case against him and 15 other activists.”

The protest was prompted by a series of anti-Muslim incidents in Yangon.

A group of nationalist monks from the Patriotic Monks Union who kicked Muslim vendors out of Shwedagon Pagoda, a holy Buddhist site, earlier this month. Then, a few days later, a Muslim taxi driver was violently assaulted for driving past the pagoda.

Speaking at Tuesday’s march, one participant cried: “We will never accept discrimination, and we will keep fighting against it.”

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