Election 2020

NLD Supporter Dies After Clash Ahead of Myanmar’s Election

By Thazin Hlaing 26 October 2020

Yangon — One man was fatally injured in a clash between the supporters of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region, according to the regional police.

The victim, Ko Myo Min Soe of Karboe village, who was wearing an NLD shirt, died of injuries on Saturday at Mandalay General Hospital.

“A brawl broke out between campaigners and villagers. The victim died of his injuries,” said a Sagaing police officer.

According to Upper House lawmaker U Win Aung of the NLD, USDP supporters who were on a campaign rally on Oct. 22. clashed with Karboe villagers, and a house, seven motorbikes and a COVID-19 checkpoint were damaged.

He denied claims that NLD supporters were touring in caravans at the time of the clash. “There is no such thing as NLD caravans. Villagers were just showing their support for the NLD, wearing NLD shirts and standing in front of their houses,” he said.

A USDP supporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said NLD supporters blocked the road and provoked the brawl by swearing at USDP supporters. She claimed that she and her niece were on a motorbike and NLD supporters hit them with an NLD flagpole and pulled her hair before the brawl erupted and that her bike fell.

“It was the NLD that provoked the clash. The problem should have been avoided if they just let us pass. But they blocked the way and provoked fighting. We saw them hitting the motorbikes,” she said.

The police said they are identifying the perpetrators. The owner of the house that was damaged, the family of the victim and the Karboe village administrator have filed complaints.

Video of people in USDP shirts beating others and people in NLD shirts blocking the way with dancing and drumming went viral on social media.

In its statement on Oct. 23, the NLD central campaign committee said there were occasional clashes between NLD supporters and other parties, who are usually to blame for incidents.

The committee urged party members and supporters to avoid violence and work to ensure electoral victory.

There have been several incidents of electoral violence between the USDP and NLD ahead of the Nov. 8 election. There was a clash in Pobbathiri Township, Naypyitaw, on Sept. 16. On Oct. 3, a mob damaged the house of an NLD executive in Myaing Township in Magwe Region.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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