Friday, 05 June 2020

Akyab, Arakan State: Monks from most of the cities in Arakan staged peaceful protests from September 24 to 27 to mark the first anniversary of the saffron revolution. The Burmese ruling junta cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators last September.

 

Taunggup. Sandoway, Rambre, Kyaukpru, Mrauk-Oo and Akyab were the main places in Arakan where the peaceful protests were staged.

 

The military junta beefed up security in these towns as of September 20 as it had received information about the monk's movement. A senior level officer from Naypaydow was sent to monitor Arakan State to crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. The regime ordered all officers to keep him informed every half hour, according to a police officer, on condition of anonymity.

 

In Akyab, security forces stationed on the roof top of Khine Thazine hotel, Novel Hotel, Kambawza Bank, Agriculture and fishing industry Bank, upper main road of higher building and Roma Bank of Rupa north quarter. Today morning, security personnel deploy tight near U Oottama Park and Payagyi. There are also camera men with security personnel watch the people from roof of the building; No. 1 Police station junction, Mya cinema hall junction and main market junction, said a student from Akyab.     

 

Around 20 young monks with empty monk's bowls from Ngaga monastery of Kyaukpru, marched on the streets till the junction of the Fire Brigade and Myoma public rest house. Plain clothes security personnel blocked them and sent them back to their monastery on September 24 afternoon, said a local from Kyaukpru.

 

On September 25, about 20 monks from Taunggup, staged a peaceful demonstration on the streets. The authorities intervened and persuaded the monks go back to their monastery through people who are influential, according to a school teacher from Taunggup.

 

On September 26, the Assistant Saradaw of Kaunn monastery, U Payanthara led 10 monks to stage a march to Rambre Township office with monk's bowls. But an officer convinced the monks not to stage protests because it would cause instability in the country. He requested the monks to pray for the country, said a student.

 

In Akyab, the port city of Arakan, about 150 monks marched peacefully in heavy rain from Buluma Bridge for about 30 minutes. It is widely believed that such a large number of monks marching in an organized fashion reflect a veiled protest.

 

Plain clothes security personnel blocked the demonstrators and some tension was generated between security personnel and demonstrators. One monk was arrested. In the evening after the demonstration the security personnel arrested four monks, he added.

 

The Sasana Molli from Bangladesh branch released a statement protesting the arrest of monks from Akyab on September 27, and demanded they be released immediately.