Signboards erected by the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) as part of their election campaigns were destroyed in Murng Kurng and Hsipaw townships, respectively, on Friday night.
Mai Nom Harn, chairperson of the TNP in Murng Kurng Township, said that three of their party’s seven large signs were destroyed in three locations: near Mwedaw Pagoda and in the villages of Ham Ngai and Pankaytu.
“Other parties have billboards there, but those were not destroyed. It’s really bad,” Mai Nom Harn told SHAN. “Why are they afraid of our party? Are they really afraid of the improvement of the lives of our people?”
NLD party chair for Hsipaw Township Tin Zaw said that their party’s billboards were vandalized twice in northern Shan State.
“Our party’s first signboard was destroyed on September 8 and then the second signboard was destroyed last night,” he told SHAN on Saturday.
Tin Zaw added that this was the first time this type of damage had occurred in the area.
“I contested the 2015 general election. I didn’t have any incidents at that time. Many people supported me. Our signboards were not destroyed,” he explained. “This year, we don’t have full support from the local people. Before we set up our party’s signboard, some people opposed it.”
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) candidate Nang San San Aye, who is running for election representing Hsipaw, condemned the acts against the rival party in her township.
“People need to control themselves. Nobody will benefit from destroying billboards,” she said, saying that the destruction could tarnish Hsipaw’s image.
It remains unknown who is responsible for the vandalism of the signboards in either township. The destruction occurred at night, despite a curfew imposed throughout Shan State by the government to control the spread of COVID-19.
The NLD, SNLD, TNP and the Union Solidarity and Development Party, Shan Nationalities Development Party, United Democratic Party, National Democracy Force and Union Betterment Party are all putting forward candidates in November’s general election in Murng Kurng and Hsipaw townships.