Red armband crackdown lawful, says Yangon Region chief minister


Civilians wearing red armbands with the word “Duty” on them launched a violent crackdown on activists and students protesting outside the Yangon City Hall on March 5, 2015. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

Civilians wearing red armbands with the word “Duty” on them launched a violent crackdown on activists and students protesting outside the Yangon City Hall on March 5, 2015. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

Yangon Region Chief Minister U Myint Swe said in the meeting with the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society that the action taken against activists and students by men wearing red armbands outside Yangon City Hall was lawful.

The Yangon Region chief minister was speaking during a meeting with the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society on March 8, according to the activist group on March 8.

The 88-Generation Peace and Open Society said that the Yangon Region Chief Minister U Myint Swe said that the authorities handled the issue on that day in accordance with Sections 127 and 128 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

On March 5, the leaders of the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society held a press conference to condemn the authorities for the attack made by civilians wearing red armbands. They said they would file complaints to the legislature, executive and judiciary authorities to urge them to identify the people who wore the red armbands.
 
The 88-Generation group leader U Min Ko Naing said in the press conference on March 5: “Wearing red armbands is license to commit physical assault against women downtown? Are we back to the era of the law of the jungle?”

On March 5, security police and civilians wearing red armbands with the word “Duty” on them launched a violent crackdown on activists and students protesting outside the Yangon City Hall.

They arrested some students and activists including Ma Nilar Thein from the88-Generation Peace and Open Society. They were released on the morning of March 6.

Lawyer U Ko Ni urged the activists to file a lawsuit against the civilians wearing red armbands who attacked the protestors.

“The articles 127 and 128 of the Criminal Procedure say that if police cannot disperse an illegal crowd, they can get assistance of any male person. But the articles do not say that they can give armbands reading “Duty” to men to launch a crackdown. Moreover, peaceful protestors are not an illegal crowd,” he said.

On March 5, the activists and the students staged the protest in support of the student marchers in Letpadan protesting over demands to change the National Education Law.

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