Myanmar Rock Singer Ito Arrested for Alleged Anti-Regime Activities

By The Irrawaddy 10 September 2021

The Myanmar junta arrested rock singer Ito at his home in Yangon’s Mayangone Township on Wednesday night for alleged connections with anti-regime activities. At least five others were also arrested, according to sources close to the artist.

Professionally known as Ito, Ko Win Htut Thawdar is in his 30s. He is also a composer and a son of famous Myanmar rocker Zaw Win Htut.

Details of the alleged anti-regime activities of which he is accused are not yet known, nor is the location where he is being held.

Myanmar has been in political turmoil since the military seized power from the country’s democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

Following the coup, many celebrities joined the anti-regime movement, using their popularity to amplify its pro-democracy message. They took to the streets to protest against the coup and urged civil servants to strike by joining the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

They have been targeted for their participation in protests against military rule, with arrest warrants being issued for nearly 100 celebrities, artists, singers, actors, actresses and directors.

About a dozen have been arrested, and nine famous Myanmar artists including comedian U Zaganar, director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, actors Lu Min and Pyay Ti Oo, model Paing Takhon, actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin and singers Saw Phoe Kwer and Po Po are still in detention.

In June, rock singer and songwriter Raymond, 32, passed away while evading arrest for participating in the anti-regime movement, after being charged under Article 505A of the penal code.

Like other pro-democracy activists, many in the arts community are in hiding, having fled their homes to evade arrest. A few others have joined Myanmar’s “Spring Revolution.” Some artists have joined the armed resistance struggle and others are working for the parallel National Unity Government (NUG).

As of Thursday, the Myanmar regime had killed a total of 1,058 civilians, arrested 7,992—of whom 6,343 are still in detention—and issued arrest warrants for 1,984, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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