Protester Attacked at Rally in Support of Burma Army

By Zarni Mann 16 January 2017

MANDALAY — A lone anti-war activist was attacked during a rally in support of the Burma Army in Mandalay on Sunday afternoon.

Ko Thae Nit Aung carried a poster reading “Stop Wars” and drove his motorbike near Manawyaman grounds where pro-military demonstrators held a rally in support of Burma Army and its soldiers who are engaged in ongoing conflict in the country’s north and east.

A number of men blocked Ko Thae Nit Aung’s way and ripped the poster from his motorcycle. As his motorcycle fell, he was attacked by the group, and at least one man punched him in the face.

“When there’s war, everyone is affected, but the civilians in war zones are the ones who suffer most,” Ko Thae Nit Aung said before leaving the area escorted by police. “I don’t want wars, and I don’t support any party involved in wars.”

VIDEO: Anti-war protester Ko Thae Nit Aung is assaulted in Mandalay. (Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

“Military supporters repeatedly say the wars waged in ethnic areas are fair, but who will be the judge?” he added.

Ko Thae Nit Aung was escorted to Maha Aung Myay Township police station for his own protection and released after questioning. He did not report the incident or file any charges.

The Irrawaddy’s photographer Zaw Zaw was also attacked for photographing the assault on Ko Thae Nit Aung and reported the incident at Maha Aung Myay Township police station.

Speakers at the rally said ongoing wars against ethnic armed groups were just and that the Burma Army was fighting to protect the nation. Everyone should support the wars, supporters said.

The rally was joined by former lawmakers U Hla Swe and Daw Khin Wine Kyi. Similar rallies were held in Rangoon and Moulmein in the past few weeks.