Rangoon Car Dealers Protest Eviction from Hanthawady Market

An angry protester voices his displeasure at the relocation of the car market. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Used-car dealers opposed to local government efforts to shut down Burma’s largest car-trading market held protests on Friday after municipal authorities sealed off the compound.

On Feb. 16, the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) ordered all businesses at the Hanthawady car-trading market to relocate by the end of February. The market sits on an 8.6-acre plot of land owned by the YCDC, which is planning to set up a housing project there.

According to Kyaw Min, the head of the YCDC’s revenue department, the municipal body has made a joint venture with Crown Advanced Construction to build a residential complex on the property.

The order to relocate the market prompted those who do business there to set up a strike committee to oppose the order, and have so far staged five protests.

“We don’t want to move, because we have all settled here. We haven’t received any compensation, plus we were ordered to leave on very short notice,” said Min Ko Myint, the president of the committee. He added that the new property provided for them by the YCDC is only temporary, and does not suit their business needs.

The Hanthawady car market was created in 1997 on a plot of land that was formerly a cemetery. According to Min Ko Myint, all the businesses operating at the market regularly pay taxes to the municipal government. The market relocation would affect nearly 35,000 people, including car dealers, brokers, laborers and their families.

3 Responses to Rangoon Car Dealers Protest Eviction from Hanthawady Market

  1. Now Burma is becoming nation of protest. The Burmese peoples are protesting everything from to get regular Electricity to Human Right. Now Burmese peoples have opportunity to protest than before but they should not abuse freedom. Democracy is not about protesting. You can not protest against certain matter which peoples have to obey and follow rule of law.
    For example, the peoples are right about protesting if local authority and police force who are using excessive force over villagers who protesting for Army confiscating of their farm lands. Like traders protesting for relocation of Hanthawady car-trading market was unnecessary for such as protesting against local authority unless there is proving of local officials abusing power for their own benefit and not for majority of peoples.
    Like protesting for to get regular daily electricity to home is another problem. Burmese peoples should understand everything will not be happening in one day. The country reconstruction process is just beginning and you can not get what you wanted when you wake up in the morning. If Burmese peoples think Democracy is all about they can do what they wanted to do and they must get what they wanted and then it will be wrong.
    Peoples need to patient and they should not go out for protest everything which they do not like it and which they wanted for.
    It remind me our Bogyoke Aung San’s speech he knows exactly what Burmese peoples will do if Burma was independent and what Burmese peoples will do with Democracy. He talk about peoples dehydrating goods (Say-Yoe) on the road and he pointed out it’s not a democracy. It’s abusing freedom.
    Honestly, I have no clue about which side is right or which side is wrong in dispute between Car dealers and local authority but they need dialogue each other. Today I make a point at daily protesting against Government, Local Authority, Company and employers in Burma.
    Peoples should not see protesting as normal solution for their problems and it should not becoming culture in Burmese society. Protesting should be recognized as last resolution for sorting out the problem.
    On the other hand, foreign investors are watching very carefully about Burmese labor market where they have to put their money. I do not want those investors scare away by culture of protesting in Burmese society especially in labor market.
    There’s no question about Burma needs Rule of Law and regulation for Businesses are urgently. Also Burmese peoples need patient during country reconstruction and everyone must contribute from their corner.
    Honestly, I’m very much impressed about speed of transforming to democracy from military dictatorship rule. Systematically everything in this country was destroyed by former dictatorship Ne Win and Than Shwe. To reconstruct the country, it will take times and very expensive transforming process due to ignoring for country development by two dictatorships for half century.
    Burmese peoples should practice freedom of democracy in right way otherwise Burmese democracy will be just the name.

    • That’s what happens when you keep quasi-educated mass with idle minds free but under-employed. They know something but don’t know enough to create jobs for themselves or others. So, they go out and do what they know how to do best–shout in the streets as loud as possible. Welcome to the Philippines 2.0.

  2. Please do not desecrate the cemetery any further; where are you going to store the bones of the faithful…I guess in the Yangon Museum for all to see – let them R.I.P.

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