Burmese Celebrities Back Constitutional Change Campaign

San Yamin Aung The Irrawaddy

RANGOON — Burmese actors, singers, songwriters and film directors have added their backing to the public campaign calling for the Constitution’s Article 436 to be amended.

On Friday, about two dozen celebrities gathered at Rangoon’s Royal Rose restaurant to sign a petition backing the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society’s efforts to change the part of the charter that effectively gives Burma’s military a veto over constitutional amendments.

“The 2008 charter is the Constitution that was designed by the government: of the army, by the army and for the army,” director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, told The Irrawaddy, explaining his reasons for backing the campaign.

“I believe that to become a government of the people, by the people and for the people—for which many lives have been sacrificed—the Constitution must be amended. So I signed [the petition].”

He said that artists and performers had for a long time been used by the Burmese government for propaganda purposes, and were often not given a choice. “Although I never worked for the government’s propaganda, I think celebrities are now showing their stance decisively, when it is really important for the country,” he said.

Kyi Toe, an NLD information officer, said that the celebrities were signing to show their support ahead of a public signature campaign, which will be launched on Tuesday.

“The public can join the signature campaign at all NLD offices, and we will send those signatures to the Parliament,” he said.