Thursday, January 31, 2008

Burma: Dissident activists launch anti-regime poster campaign

On January 27, despite tight security, dissident activists of Taungoup, Kyaukpru and Rambree townships, and on January 28, in Sittwe, or Akyab launched an anti-regime poster campaign, according to sources.

The Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) and the municipality jointly started collecting funds from the municipal areas of these towns from households, shops, and business quarters, to clean and develop a model town from January 24 to 26.

The Township council ordered the ward chairmen in the municipal areas of towns to contribute kyat 3, 000 per poor/ middle class family, kyat 5,000 per wealthy family, kyat 15,000 per small shop, kyat 30,000 per big shop, and kyat 50,000 per joint venture business farm or industrious based business farm.

The residents of the three townships ----Taungoup, Kyaukpru and Rambree--- became intolerant over the collection of money, so, on January 27, the campaigners stuck posters, cartoons and notices in the cities' downtown areas, especially markets, hospitals, car gates, car or rail way stations and other crowded places. The posters called for the release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and arrested Buddhist monks, according to a close aide to officials.

Besides, on January 28, the residents of Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State also launched an anti-government poster campaign demanding release of all political prisoners. The posters also urged the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to stop arbitrary arrest and respect human rights.

Till now there have been no arrests but security has been beefed up by deploying police accompanied by members of the United Solidarity and Development Association, or USDA. Residents of the towns believe that there will be arrests in the next few days as the security forces are vigilant. Every nook and corner of Sittwe is being manned by USDA members, a local resident said.

In Maungdaw Township, the TPDC Chairman U Myint Maung ordered Village PDC's and Ward Chairmen to collect money for Natala villagers who will be arriving in Maungdaw Town on January 30. As a result, the Village PDC Chairmen have been collecting money from villagers and town dwellers since January 20, in keeping with their financial status. They (VPDC- Chairmen) are collecting Kyat 1, 000 to 3,000 per family. Residents from other towns launched an anti-state poster campaign, but in Maungdaw Township, residents did not do protest against the collection of money, said a trader on condition of anonymity.

"Whenever the authorities have a fund crisis, they create a project to show the public and ask the people to share the cost," another trader in Maungdaw town said.

Source: Kaladan Press Network. Please visit and show your support