Youth Protest Calls for Mon Political Parties to Unite

By Lawi Weng 27 January 2017

RANGOON — Around 300 ethnic Mon youth in Lamine sub-township in Ye, Mon State, protested on Friday against the leaders of two Mon political groups who refused to combine their parties, according to local sources.

The protesters took to the streets at noon and asked that the Mon National Party and the All Mon Region Democracy Party to abolish the individual parties and re-form together as a new party.

Nai Nyan Seik, an advisor to the Mon Youth Forum (MYF), a leading Mon youth organization, told The Irrawaddy that the rally started in Lamine, but that his group would work to protest throughout the Mon region.

“Our youth asked them to abolish their two parties, and then form a new party which all of our Mon could accept,” he said.

MYF is planning a statewide protest in February for its members. “We will do a different type of protest. We will protest in public, but we will also protest in other ways, however we can.”

Buddhist monks, youth, and Mon community leaders attempted for nearly three years to negotiate the joining of the two parties, but senior party leaders refused, according to Nai Nyan Seik.

In the 2015 election, the National League for Democracy won the majority of votes in Mon State, which many ethnic Mon blamed on vote splitting between their two parties, and a subsequent divide in their communities.

“Even between fathers and sons from the same families, there were problems regarding political interests,” said Nai Nyan Seik.

In a statement issued on Friday by MYF youth members who protested in Lamine, they said that the parties’ leaders not answering the wishes of the Mon people—to unite. The statement also blamed electoral losses on the division.

“They just blamed each other, and then they did not agree to join as one party,” said the statement.