DVB Multimedia Group

Burmese military bar Shan meetings

A Burmese soldier takes a photo of people who had turned up for a public meeting at the Houng Lite monastery in Tachileik on 21 December 2017. (PHOTO: Sai Laeng)

Burmese military personnel yesterday barred Shan representatives and members of the public from attending political meetings in Panglong and Tachileik townships.

Both meetings had been scheduled as preparatory discussions to a round of national-level political dialogue due to begin next month in Langkho, southern Shan State.

Speaking to DVB earlier, Maj. Sai Oo, a spokesperson for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and organising committee member for Shan national-level political dialogue, said, “I was in Lashio when I got a call telling me that the public consultations in Panglong and Tachileik had been prohibited by the military. The soldiers told the organisers they were acting on orders from their superiors.”

He added: “In fact, these public consultations were being hosted in accordance with the peace process. The Shan state government had granted permission for these events. So I do not understand why the Tatmadaw [Burmese military] would prevent them.

Maj. Sai Oo said that the RCSS would hold an internal discussion about the obstruction, but would also move forward with its plan to hold public consultations prior to the commencement of Shan national-level political dialogue.

He said that some 20 military personnel had intervened yesterday at the meeting venue in Tachileik, which was the Houng Lite monastery, while 10 soldiers barred the meeting in Panglong Township.

A series of so-called public consultations have been arranged across 16 townships in Shan State to listen to public concerns and opinions, and better prepare for the upcoming rounds of political dialogue.

The RCSS supposedly has permission from the government to host next month’s national-level political dialogue in Langkho.