Myanmar Government Police Charge Against Peaceful Protests Calling for Lifting the World Longest Internet Shutdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, and Activists Say Democracy Is Dead

This placard writes Democracy Is Dead and displayed on Sittway beach in Rakhine State 

AN. Sittway. June 24, 2020.

Democracy is not only about choosing a government. Democracy consists primarily in the fact that citizens have the right to demand respect for themselves and their dignity from the elected government. Demand that the state work in their interests, for their convenience. The authorities must understand that they are not test takers for hire, but persons who are responsible for the state and its population.

Network of Arakan civil society organizations call on Myanmar government to withdraw charges against 5 activists for protesting to lift off internet restrictions in Rakhine and Chin states. 


Arakan CSO Network (ACN) issues a statement today and said Maung Saungkha, Executive Director of Athan (Voice), and his 4 more colleagues, and Myo Min Thu, leader of Ramree Youth Network, are charged by the Myanmar police for illegal gartering under the Article 19 of Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law that requires permit from authority and police. 


Both activists organized small scale of poster-holding protests and T-Shirt-wearing-photo-op online protest on June 21, one year blackout of internet in Rakhine and Chin states. 


Maung Saungkha, who is well known and rock star status activist and focal encourager of freedom of expression among the youth activists, organized a T-shit wearing online protests on June 21, an in annul shutdown of mobile internet services since last year. He called for internet reopen.


Myo Min Thu gathered his friends of less than one dozen and held placard protest that wrote “356 days no internet in Rakhine and Paletwa, and Rakhine Lives Matter”  in Ramree, Rakhine State, and posted it on social media. 

The idea of these protests are online protests, in terms of not procession protest on public venues but on cyber screens. 

The legal experts said Myanmar does not have yet any law enacted to charge and imprison for those who organize online protests. This may apply for different cyber laws.  

But police charge those 5 activists separately in Yangon and Ramree for unlawful gathering.


“We are bitterly disappointed to hear about the government’s continuance repression on activists,” ACN writes. 


Myanmar government under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize Winner and once democracy and human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi never tolerates activists for peaceful expression of their opinions over the government wrong policies and contexts of harmful to communities since she has been in power for over four years. 


A couple of courts in Irrawaddy Division delivered guilty verdicts against a group student activists who staged and chanted traditional rap rhythms in criticizing the military last year. 


Activists in Myanmar tumble the government’s cruel repression on the peaceful protesters is unorthodox democracy principle of freedom of expression. 


The statement says, “Freedom of expression is a primary foundation of democracy, and access to information is also fundamental rights of all citizens.” 

Diplomats from US, EU, Canada, and Australia as well as UN official called on Myanmar government to lift internet restrictions in Rakhine and Chin states.


But no sign is seen Myanmar leaders listen to the public and international diplomats’ outcry for unfair internet shutdown.

Activists displayed a placard on Sittway beach and wrote, “Democracy is dead.” 

Activists took photo and posted on social media to protest again 
internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin states.


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