Demonstrating alone, a man in Hsipaw ‘condemns warmongers.’
A one-man demonstrator in Hsipaw on Tuesday called for a halt to clashes in northern Shan State and for action to be taken by the state’s chief minister to resolve the conflict.
Ko Nyi Latt said that he received permission from the Hsipaw police station on March 24 to hold his solo protest.
“After I got permission, I privately held a demonstration,” he told SHAN. “The object of this demonstration was to stop wars in Rakhine and Shan states, as well as to halt the Myitsone hydropower project.”
Ko Nyi Latt held posters with messages drawing attention to suffering in the state, and with declarations like “I condemn warmongers.”
Others reportedly wanted to join him, so he asked for permission from the police to hold a public demonstration, rather than what is classified as a “private demonstration.” However, no one else showed up on the designated day of the protest.
“I don’t blame them,” Ko Nyi Latt said.
He told SHAN that he wanted ethnic armed organizations to “change their strategy,” stating that while he “respected the beliefs” of these groups, he feels that “armed struggle is not compatible with today’s situation.”
Among Ko Nyi Latt’s demands were an end to the practice of extrajudicial arrests and detainment of civilians by armed groups, and for Burma and Shan State’s leadership to take a stronger stance against war.
“I don’t want to see the suffering of women and children. Shan State’s chief minister needs to raise his voice against it,” he said, referring to U Linn Htut, and adding that the minister should “come and see and respect IDPs [internally displaced people].”
Since late 2018, northern Shan State has experienced several clashes and high military tension. Thousands of people have fled their homes and sought refuge in monasteries and IDP camps.
Groups active in the region include the Burmese military, the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army, Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.