24 Dec 88-Generation and civil groups to protest against ‘repressive’ laws

Written by Hein Ko Soe and Shwe Yee Win Htet Published in Politics Read 3389 times

The 88-Generation Student Organization has confirmed it has sought permission to stage a protest against what it claims are undemocratic and repressive laws.

Announcing the plans during a press conference on December 24, spokesperson Ko Mar Kee, said the application was submitted to the Kyauktada Township police station and that a response to the application was due by January 1.

Ko Mar Kee said a request was made for up to 300 people to gather near the Independence Monument on Myanmar Independence Day (January 4), from 3pm.

Up to 60 civil society groups would demonstrate to support an amendment of unpopular laws such as Section 18 of the Penal Code, Ko Mar Kee added.

Under the Peaceful Assembly and Procession law, protestors can be tried for criminal trespass and staging demonstrations without prior permission from relevant authorities.

Recommendations to amend Section 18 have also been made in parliament, with Pyithu Hluttaw member, U Thura Aung Ko from Kanpetlet constituency in the Chin State, raising the issue during a parliamentary session held on November 13.

“The constitution provides fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and procession and freedom of expression to citizens, but Section 18 of Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law restricts these fundamental rights,” U Thura Aung Ko said in session.

“It seems township administrators and police officers are above the law, so we should amend this law,” he said.

A member of the 88-Generation group, Ko Pyone Cho, told Mizzima on December 23, this would be the group’s first protest since the release of 88-Generation members from prison in January 2012.

Key leaders of the group, such as Ko Min Ko Naing, were released under a presidential amnesty for political prisoners.

The government’s Political Prisoners Scrutinizing Committee on December 22 recommended that cases against more than 200 detained political activists, some of whom are charged under Section 18, be dropped by December 30.