Myanmar police use rubber bullets, tear gas to break up ethnic minority protest

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


YANGON (Reuters): Myanmar police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon yesterday to disperse a protest over a statue of independence hero General Aung San that is opposed by members of the Karenni ethnic minority, police and a protest leader said.

Organisers said at least 3,000 people had gathered on the Union Day holiday in Loikaw, the capital of the mountainous eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni, despite being denied permission for the demonstration.

“We are not objecting to the general’s statue itself – we are demanding to implement his promises first,” Khun Thomas, a leader of the Karenni State Youth Force, said at the protest, broadcast live on Facebook using smartphones.

“We are going to continue our protest.”

The father of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San was the architect of a 12 February 1947 pact among some ethnic groups which is marked by the annual holiday, but which, minorities say, was never realised after his assassination that year.