Karenni Protesters Barred From Referring to Tatmadaw in Land Rights Protest

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The protesters in Demoso held a silent demonstration instead.

By KANTARAWADDY TIMES

Around 70 Karenni locals held a silent protest in Demoso town on Thursday, forbidden by the township authorities from writing the terms “army” or “Tatmadaw” on any placards during the demonstration.Protest leader Khun Leo Kar Kar told Kantarwaddy that they received permission to protest land grabs on July 3 after requesting it on July 1.

However, the clearance came with stipulations.“We discussed it with the township administrator on July 2. We would demand that the army withdraw from our confiscated farmland.

An army officer also attended the meeting. He requested that we use the word ‘Tatmadaw’ instead of ‘army’ [in our protest]. We agreed to use the word ‘Tatmadaw’ on our placards,” Khun Leo Kar Kar explained.

“The next day when we went to the township administration office to receive official permission, the administrator told us to remove the words ‘army’ and ‘Tatmadaw’ from our placards.

Then we got permission for our protest,” he said.Khun Leo Kar Kar added that the township administrator told him that the reason for the order was that the Burmese military had “not confiscated any farmland” during the current National League for Democracy-led government’s term, which began in 2016.

Kantarawaddy Times and other local Burmese media have reported on multiple land grabs by the military in recent years, as well as outstanding cases of land confiscation dating back decades.Protesters instead held placards demanding to “solve the problem of land confiscation” to “return confiscated farmland to farmers” and to “release detained farmers.”

In late June, police arrested two farmers who protested the military’s confiscation of their farmland in Loikaw Township. The army has also recently brought charges against farmers demanding the return of their seized land in Demoso Township.

“The army should return the confiscated farmland to farmers as soon as possible. Farmers depend on this land to support their families and the education of their children,” Khun Hla Min Htwe, another leader of the silent protest, told Kantarawaddy Times.

“We want the government to solve this land confiscation problem as soon as possible,” he added.

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