Parliament passes peaceful demonstration amendment bill

08 March 2018
Parliament passes peaceful demonstration amendment bill
Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

Former lower house MP Dr. Nyo Nyo Thinn told Mizzima that she believed parliament had to pass the Peaceful Demonstration and Marching in Procession Law Amendment Bill under political pressure.
The House of Nationalities (upper house) passed the controversial Peaceful Demonstration and Marching in Procession Law amendment bill on March 7 as per the bill submitted by the parliament Bill Committee.
“I’ve just heard that the upper house had passed this amendment bill. As far as we know, many MPs do not like this bill as they know well the danger and consequences of this bill but I believe that they had to pass this bill under political pressure,” Dr. Nyo Nyo Thinn said.
The bill got 113 Yes votes and 78 Nay votes and was passed by the upper house, it will be forwarded to lower house for deliberations and voting.
“I’d like to say we extend our heartfelt congratulations to those 78 MPs who gave their Nay votes to this bill. I firmly believe that these 78MPs can live with clear conscience for the rest of their lives after they made that decisions. “ Dr. Nyo Nyo Thinn added.
Bill committee member and National League for Democracy (NLD) party MP Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe submitted this amendment bill to upper house in its session convened on February 19.
This amendment bill attracted public criticisms for banning the fundamental rights of citizens on freedom of expression which is legally granted in 2008 Constitution. And then civil societies, human rights, democratic rights, political and social activists led by former MP Dr. Nyo Nyo Thinn organized a demonstration in Yangon on March 5. Moreover over 230 civil society organizations issued their statement objecting to the bill.
In the objective and explanation chapter, this amendment bill says, “To protect the State and citizens from the danger of subversive activities, knowingly and intentionally, which will cause undermining the interest of the State and citizens by exploiting the protection given by law in staging peaceful demonstration and marching in procession.”
Under this amended law, the organizers of a demonstration and procession must inform the Township Police Chief concerned with prior detail on agenda, estimated number of participants, estimated cost of the protest demonstration and the name of an individual or an organization which will bear the cost of such demonstration.
And also section 18 of this amended law stipulates, “Whosoever with intent to cause or likely to cause undermining the state security, law and order, stability and tranquility in the community, interest and moral of the people, knowingly incite, deceit, seduce, urge someone to take part in peaceful demonstration and marching in procession by giving money or in kind or using any other means, shall be punished by giving prison term not exceeding three years or with fines, if found guilty.”