Sittwe: About 300 monks in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan state, marched today into Ottama garden to commemorate the Ottama monument on the 72nd anniversary of Ottama’s death. Ottama advocated for Burmese independence from British rule.
A witness said, “Around 300 monks from several monasteries in Sittwe marched to the Ottma monument in the Ottama garden holding bowls to commemorate Ottama for the sacrifices he made in his push for Burmese independence at 10am today. When the monks reached the front of the Ottama monument, the monks lined up and laid wreaths and single flowers down.”
Some senior monks in the group delivered speeches about Ottama to the assembly of monks in front of the monument.
“Some monks delivered speeches to the other participating monks about Ottama. When the time reached 11am, the monks dispersed and returned to their respective monasteries. Authorities felt disturbed by the monks actions,” the witness said.
After the event, authorities beefed up security around the area of the Ottama garden by deploying many extra security forces including plain clothes police and riot police.
Another witness said, “Many security forces were deployed by the high authority after the monks march to the monument. But the force did not forbid anyone from honoring Ottama at the monument in the garden.”
This is first time such a large number of Arakanese monks have gathered in Sittwe after the Saffron Revolution in Burma. During the Saffron Revolution in 2007, thousand of monks in Sittwe joined the movement against the military government.
“It is the first time monks gathered in front of the Ottama monument in Sittwe since the monks movement in 2007. So people are very excited and interested in this event. Everybody will closely watch what happens today.”
It was learnt that in the evening, there was a big function in Sittwe for the 72nd anniversary of Ottama day and many local people in Sittwe, along with RNDP leaders, marched to the monument to honor Ottama with candles and flowers.