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One-thousand residents in Myitkyina led by Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) pastors participated in one of the largest peaceful protests since the new government took place demanding the release of Lahtaw Brang Shawng and security for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in government controlled areas today.
Lahtaw Brang Shawng was arrested by Burmese authorities in Jan Mai Kawng IDPs camp under suspicion of being part of a bombing operation and having contact with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on June 17. Kachin community leaders say he is innocent. Lahtaw Brang Shawng has been tortured while under arrest.
The protesters who wore traditional Kachin longyis and white shirts joined Lahtaw Brang Shawng’s wife who held a poster with the words 'release my husband Brang Shawng' written on it.
The protest occurred after Burmese authorities arrested many IDPs and Kachin civilians under Act 17/1, which forbids any contact with an illegal association.
One protestor told the Kachin News Group (KNG), Burmese authorities warned them last night not to participate in the protest but so far there haven’t been any actions taken against anyone.
According to IDPs camp leader Aung Myat, one-thousand protesters converged at Jan Mai Kawng Baptist Church at 9 am. The protest then moved down Du kahtawng and State Administration Office roads. The crowd of people stopped in front of State Police Station, Military Security Intelligence Office, Province Office, in front of Township Office, and Court of Kachin State. The protest ended at the An Daw Shin Buddhist monastery behind the State Garden at 3 pm.
Protesters are demanding for the immediately release of Brang Shawng, an end to arbitrary arrest, security for IDPs and peace in Kachin State.