Protestors demand release of Rakhine nationalists


(File) Dr. Aye Maung, chairman of the Araken National Party (ANP), attends the first day of the new parliament session in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 08 February 2016. Photo: Nyunt Win/EPA

Around 150 protesters gathered in Munaung township, in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Monday to demand the release of two ethnic Rakhine nationalists who were arrested and charged with incitement last week amid fallout from a deadly clash between members of the minority group and police, RFA reported on 23 January.

On 16 January, police shot dead at least seven protesters and wounded 13 others after thousands of members of the Rakhine minority group marking a Buddhist anniversary converged on the government office in the town of Mrauk U when authorities attempted to stop the event.

Police have since arrested Rakhine social critic Wai Hin Aung and Rakhine nationalist lawmaker Aye Maung after they delivered speeches calling for  revolt against Myanmar’s ethnic majority Bamar-led government.

On Monday, Rakhine state chief minister Nyi Pu said the government plans to charge the two men, and organizers of the anniversary event—who did not obtain permission for the gathering—with “high treason” under Section 122 of Myanmar’s Penal Code, which carries a maximum punishment of death, according to the RFA report.

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