Friday, April 4, 2008

More Opposition Activists Attacked by Junta' Thugs

Irrawaddy News:
Pro-democracy activists continue to be attacked by thugs in Rangoon as Burmese authorities tighten control on opposition groups ahead of the constitutional referendum in May, according to National League for Democracy (NLD) sources.

Tin Yu, a member of the NLD in Hlaing Tharyar Township, was attacked on Thursday evening by thugs carrying batons as he walked home from a bus stop. He was admitted to hospital where he received 50 stitches in the face.

Tin Yu was arrested following the September demonstrations for talking to Burmese shortwave radio operators in foreign countries. He was later released.

“The current situation seems to be one in which pro-democracy activists are being systematically attacked by thugs,” said a NLD youth leader in the township. “The attacks are believed to be the work of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and its militia, the Swan Ah-shin.”

The USDA and Swan Ah-shin were behind the brutal attacks on Buddhist monks in August and September 2007, as well as the ambush of Aung San Suu Kyi’s convoy in Depayin in Sagaing Division in northern Burma in May 2003, in which a score of people were killed.

The attack on Tin Yu was the third on pro-democracy activists in Rangoon this week.

On Monday, Myint Hlaing, the NLD chairman in Hlaing Tharyar Township in Rangoon, was assaulted near his home. A leading human rights activist, Myint Aye, was attacked by thugs last week in Sanchaung Township in Rangoon. Both men were hospitalized with head injuries following the attacks.

“The junta’s use of thugs to attack pro-democracy and human rights activists means it is driving the country down a dangerous road in the future,” said Aye Thar Aung, the secretary of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament. “We condemn these backward acts.”

He said special police and informers in civilian clothes are always around his home, and his guests are photographed when they visit.

Meanwhile a NLD member from Thingangyun Township in Rangoon was arrested on Thursday night at his home. on Sunday, at least six NLD activists were arrested in Rangoon.

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