Authorities in Mandalay yesterday arrested the last of the two ring leaders of the armed mob that stopped prayer services last month during Ramadan in Yangon’s North Dagon neighborhood, according to the Myanmar Police Force.
ဖမ္းဝရမ္းထုတ္ဆင့္ထားသည့္ တရားခံ ေက်ာ္ျမင့္(ခ)မိုက္ကယ္ေက်ာ္ျမင့္အား ဖမ္းဆီးရမိေနျပည္ေတာ္၊ ဇြန္ ၁၀ ရန္ကုန္တိုင္းေဒသႀကီး၊…
Michael Kyaw Myint, an outspoken nationalist — who earned admiration in some quarters in 2017 after confronting local officials with charges of corruption — went into hiding last month after South Dagon township officials filed lawsuits against both he and fellow nationalist Thiha Myo Naing, the other alleged ringleader behind the confrontation. The latter turned himself over to authorities last week.
According to the Myanmar Police Force, a “responsible citizen” tipped off Mandalay authorities to Kyaw Myint’s whereabouts. The fugitive had been hiding out at his parents-in-law’s residence in Mandalay’s Wundwin Township.
His wife, Aye Aye Thin, also confirmed to Myanmar Now that her husband had been arrested by authorities. He is being charged under article 505(b) of the Penal Code, which prohibits citizens from causing incitement or “fear or alarm to the public,” and carries a two-year sentence.
“They took him to the district office, so we haven’t received any word yet from them,” she told the news outlet.
On May 15, more than 100 self-described patriots descended on three temporary prayer houses armed with knives and sticks to demand their closure, despite the fact that the local Muslim community had received permission from the Yangon regional government to operate them during the month of Ramadan.
In a widely shared video of the incident, Kyaw Myint can be seen outside a prayer house chanting that they were “going to shut down this mosque tonight,” to a cheering crowd.
Myanmar’s civil society responded to this act of hate with a “White Rose” campaign that was kick started by the visit of a prominent monk just a day after the nationalist mob’s appearance in North Dagon.
The campaign has since become a rallying call for interfaith activists and community builders across Myanmar, marking the end of Ramandan with a symbolic show of support and solidarity with an “White Rose” campaign on Eid.