Myanmar Army Bars Military Dress for Mon Revolution Day

By Hintharnee 7 August 2017

MOULMEIN, Mon State — The Myanmar Army has told the New Mon State Party (NMSP) not to hold military parades in uniform at locations other than the party’s headquarters to mark the 70th Anniversary of Mon Revolution Day on Monday.

The 19th Military Operations Command in Ye Township summoned NMSP officials on Saturday in order to inform them about the instruction, said Nai Pin, liaison officer of the township’s NMSP office, on Sunday.

The order means the NMSP will be barred from holding parades in Dawei, Thaton, and Moulmein, as well as the area of the Three Pagodas Pass.

The day marks the occasion when about 30 Mon leaders stole guns from a police station in Sarthapyin village, Kyaikmayaw Township, on the full moon day of Wagaung in 1948, forming a resistance against the government.

The NMSP signed a ceasefire with the then ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1995, but the truce broke in 2010. It then signed state- and Union-level ceasefire agreements with former President U Thein Sein’s government in February 2012, but has opted out of signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

According to Nai Pin, the ban shows the National League for Democracy (NLD) government is pressuring the NMSP to sign the NCA.

Mon people will mark the annual event as usual, laying wreaths at the tombs of Mon leaders in the leaders’ villages and gathering at the Mon Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Mudon Township.

“We’ll pay tribute to leaders in the morning and gather at the mausoleum at 1 p.m.,” said Mi Sandar Nom of the event’s organizing committee.

The NMSP was allowed to stage military parades in uniform under the previous government, she said, adding that it was “unacceptable” that it is now banned under the current government.

The NMSP was also told by the Myanmar Army not to hold a military parade in military dress on Mon National Day in February this year, resulting in tensions between the two sides.

NMSP officials based in Moulmein told The Irrawaddy they had received the instruction from the Myanmar Army 1st grade tactical commander of the command, but had not yet received an official letter. They declined to give further comment.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.