Exiled Media Misses Solo Protest in Taungup

Taungup: A solo protest took place in Taungup in Arakan State on 31 August, but Burmese media in exile did not pick up the story due to a lack of communication, said a young activist in the town.

“The solo protest took place and the protestor was arrested by authorities on the same day in Taungup but no media organizatins abroad could pick up the story because townspeople neglected to send information the media groups out of fear of action by the authority,” he said.

Ko Zaw Naing, 27, from Chaung Gulf Ward in Taungup, staged a solo protest by hanging a portrait of Bogyoke Aung San around his neck on 31 August, in a statement against the military government’s detention of over 2,000 political prisoners in the country.

He was arrested by the police for staging the protest and brought to the police station for interrogation. After the interrogation, the police sent him to the Taungup Township court and charged him with causing unrest.

On 1 September, Taungup Township judge Kyi Min Soe sentenced him to seven days in prison.

“We wanted to send the information to exiled media but we could not do it because we were afraid the authority might intercept the telephone conversations in the town. Many telephone owners and shops would not allow us to speak of the incident with outside media due to fear of reprisals by the authority,” he said.

According to a local source, the authorities always intercept telephone links in Taungup if they suspect a phone may be used by anyone with a connection to outside media.

The authorities have not yet arrested anyone in the town for leaking information to outside media groups, but they have indirectly disturbed businesses and limited their ability to operate.

Because of this, townspeople have not sent information to outside media groups even though some anti-military government activities occurred in Taungup during the month of August.

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