Civil society calls for foreign pressure

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By Oliver Slow

Civil society leaders have condemned a police crackdown on student protesters in Letpadan on March 10 as “inhumane” and called on the international community to closely monitor the government and security forces to ensure there is no repeat of the violence.

“The reaction was a clear violation of the international standard of dealing with public groups, and we can see this from the attacks on people who are sick or injured, as well as even medical staff,” U Aung Myo Win, director of Equality Myanmar and a member of the Civil Society Coordination Committee (CSCC), told The Myanmar Times yesterday. “I really denounce the use of excessive force [by the police]because you see no use of violence started by the students.”

U Aung Myo Win said that the authorities had exacerbated an already tense situation by failing to respond adequately to the students’ demands.

Criticism has also been aimed at the European Union, which has been training Myanmar police in crowd management and riot control since 2013.

The EU delegation issued a statement on March 10 condemning the violence and calling for a transparent investigation. The British and United States embassies in Yangon have issued similar statements.

But Daw Khin Lay, director of Triangle Women Support Group, said the international community had not spoken out strongly enough.

“We are not very happy with the international community,” said Daw Khin Lay, who is also a member of the CSCC. “The foreign governments have been trapped by the government’s propaganda, so they are reluctant to react to what happened at Letpadan. If the government’s behaviour is not checked, then we can see this [violent crackdown]happening again.

“If the government is saying that they are in a democratic transition, is the behaviour of the police part of a democratic society? It was inhumane – it wasn’t like beating students, it was like beating animals, and it is particularly shameful after the police training, and the EU needs to review its police training policy.”

 

Source by : Myanmar Tiems

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