NLD to propose changes to protest law


NLD to propose changes to protest law

Myanmar Times, 09 Sep 2013

The National League for Democracy will propose during the next hluttaw session that section 18 of the Law on Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession be reviewed, party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said last week.

Section 18 contains the penalties for violations, such as protests held without permission, which include up to two years’ imprisonment.

“One of our NLD representatives will put forward a proposal during the next session,” she said on August 30.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said section 18 “prohibits citizens’ right to protest peacefully” and she is confident that other MPs will agree to review the law.

There appears to be at least some bipartisan support for changes to the law, which was approved in late 2011.

In March, the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s Thura U Aung Ko said provisions in the peaceful protest law do not conform with section 354(a) of the constitution, which gives citizens the right to freely express their beliefs.

Since the law was enacted, between 70 and 100 people have been charged under section 18, said U Ye Aung from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. “We believe there could also be more cases that we don’t know about,” he added.

Most recently, about 20 people who protested for the abolishment of section 18 in Yangon on August 27 were also charged under the section.

“We demonstrated to abolish section 18 but we have been charged under this section,” said protester Ko Kyaw Nay Win.