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PEN Condemns Disruption of Literary Talks

20 February 2014

The Burmese chapter of PEN, the worldwide association of writers, has spoken out against two incidents last week involving Buddhist monks who disrupted literary events because of the participation of Muslim writers. In a statement, the group condemned religious extremists for forcing the cancellation of an event in Rangoon organized by the National League for Democracy to mark Burma’s Union Day on Feb. 12. Three days later, in Mandalay, monks again tried to block another gathering that included a Muslim speaker. The statement denounced the “alarming” and “authoritarian-like behavior” of the monks and criticized the authorities for failing to address the issue. Presidential spokesperson Ye Htut later said the government would take action against anyone who disrupts authorized public talks.