MANDALAY — The Kyauktada Township Court in Yangon convicted three peace protesters under the Peaceful Assembly Law on Wednesday, giving them a choice of paying a fine of 20,000 kyats each or a sentence of 15 days’ imprisonment.
Peace activist Ko Zeyar Lwin and poets Ko Khant Min Htet and Ko Ye Wint Aung participated in a protest at Mahabandoola Park on May 14, calling for an end to the wars in Kachin State, at which they gave speeches and recited poems.
The two poets agreed to pay the 20,000 kyats fine, however Ko Zeyar Lwin choose imprisonment.
“Suing and sentencing us under the Peaceful Assembly Law for participating in a movement for the peace of the country is limiting our freedom of expression and insulting peace,” said Ko Zeyar Lwin.
“Our trial shows the devastation of the judicial system of the country and that is why I decided to take 15 days’ imprisonment,” he added.
Ko Zeyar Lwin is also facing trial under the Peaceful Assembly Law in Bahan Township where the peace rally passed through on the way to the larger gathering in Mahabandoola Park on the same day.
Protests urging government authorities to rescue locals trapped in the war-torn region of Kachin State and calling for a stop to the conflict, took place in Yangon and Mandalay in May, followed by the opening of a protest camp in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State.
Thousands of locals remain displaced by outbreaks of fighting between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) and Kachin ethnic armed groups, which took place in Kachin State in April and May.
Four protesters from Mandalay and 17 protesters from Yangon have been sued under Article 19 of Peaceful Assembly Law over the protests in May.
The Mandalay protesters have already served prison sentences of two months behind bars.