Myanmar Coup Leader Renames Controversial Mon State Bridge

By The Irrawaddy 1 June 2021

Myanmar’s coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has renamed a controversial bridge in Mon State whose naming caused friction between the National League for Democracy (NLD) government and local residents four years ago.

Originally named the General Aung San Bridge (Belu Island), the bridge was retitled the Thanlwin Bridge (Chaungzon) by the junta on Tuesday. The bridge spans the Salween River linking Mawlamyine and Chaungzon Townships.

Local residents in Mon State strongly opposed the NLD government’s 2017 decision to name the bridge after independence hero Gen Aung San, preferring names like Chaungzon Bridge or Yarmanya, which means ‘Mon State’ in the Mon language spoken in the region.

Snr. Gen Min Aung Hlaing attended the renaming ceremony on Tuesday morning, along with his wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla, two military council members: Mahn Nyein Maung and Dr. Banyar Aung Moe, who is also a central executive committee member of the Mon Unity Party (MUP).

Myanmar’s coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing delivers a speech while his wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla looks on. (Photos- Than Lwin Times)

The MUP had requested that the bridge be renamed Yarmanya but the junta chose Thanlwin Bridge (Chaungzon), likely for political reasons as it tries to gain support in Mon State. The regime also changed the background color of the bridge’s nameplate from red to green.

However, local residents said that they do not have any strong feelings over the bridge’s name since they were only concerned with ending military rule, which is the enemy of the people.

Dr. Aung Naing Oo, a former leading member of the central executive committee of the MUP and a former deputy speaker of the Mon State Parliament said on his Facebook page on Monday that the goal of the Mon people was not the renaming of the bridge.

“In building a country, there needs to emerge a reliable and good political system for all ethnic people that shows respect and understanding for each other” he said.

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