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Protestors took to the streets of Banmauk in Sagaing Division this weekend, calling for official measures to tackle rampant drug problems in the region.
“My husband died from drug addiction and it left me scared, angry and inconsolable,” said one protestor. “I get very upset seeing young people whose lives are dictated by their drug habit – it brings tears to my eyes.
“And I constantly worry that son will end up like his father.”
More than one hundred demonstrators marched on Sunday from the main pagoda in Nayakar village to its equivalent in Banmauk, holding placards calling for the suppression of drugs; an end to drug-related bribery and corruption; rule of law; and legal assistance for drug addicts who are trying to get clean.
“If our country’s leaders continue to ignore this waste of human resources, we will never get the chance to have a clean government as the president promised,” said local protestor Wai Lin Htut.”
“Where there are incompetent citizens, there will be an incompetent government.”
Another local woman told DVB that little assistance for drug addicts exists in the area.
“Now we have more and more drug users injecting heroin,” she said. “But there is a medicine in Katha town. You can take droplets of it to get off the drugs. My brother has been taking it. The medicine itself is free, but we must still pay his living expenses. However, we cannot get that medicine in Banmauk, so I am joining this rally to demand it be made available here.”
The protest, organised by the National League for Democracy, was held with official permission from local authorities in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law.
*DVB has this week broadcast a feature story about drug addicts in northern Shan State. You can see highlights from this video on our website this weekend.