Friday, 18 January 2008

Taunggok Bottling Up

18 January 2008
Original report by Naw Say Paw, DVB

For trying unsuccessfully to express their feelings over the management of the 'authorities', citizens of Taunggok are now guarded by heavily armed security forces while members of the National League for Democracy Party are being followed and watched in a most intolerably intimidating manner.

Just a day after the distrupted peaceful demonstration in the town, the locals are trying to bottle up their tensions and unhappiness over the ill-treatment they have received from authorities. It is reported that security is extremely tight here although schools and markets are all now open again.

"Cars full of armed riot police are following NLD members' every footstep. Swan Arr Shin Militia and USDA members have positioned themselves at all the road junctions and teashops. They are holding cameras and walkie talkies to provide the usual level of intimidation. Apart from that, everything else could be called normal."

It is also reported that many locals, including farmers from the surrounding area have made attempts to come and join the peaceful protest.

The public have been struggling to put up with 'forced' fire guard duties, other 'forced' labour, a 'forced' reduction in rice price for sale to the military, a 'forced' sunflower growing project that no farmer wanted to be involved in, as well as 'forced' cash "donations" to the 'authorities'. It was their frustration and tensions that they were trying to express, peacefully but clearly, in yesterday's protests.

"Unfortunately, we are even more angry now that our peaceful demonstrations have been forcibly dispersed. We have been unhappy for many long years with so much disappointment and bad feelings about the general mismanagement, which have all been bottled up. When it is going to explode, I can't tell but it will, sooner or later."

Other Arakan(Rakhine)regions, such as Sitttwe, Mun Aung and Thun Dwe, where active protests were held during the September protests, also see the increase of armed forces while more troops have been positioned in Rangoon.

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