Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Activists protest Htay Oo's secret visit to Japan

by Phoe Zaw
Monday, 24 August 2009 22:33

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese activists on Monday held a protest rally against the secret visit to Japan by Htay Oo, Secretary of the pro-junta civilian organization – the Union Solidarity and Development Association - outside the hotel where he is staying.

The demonstrators hoisted the flag of the ‘fighting peacock’, a symbol representing the spirit of revolution in front of "The New Otani" hotel in Tokyo, where Htay Oo is putting up.

The flag fluttered along with that of China, Japan, Burma and Thai flags for a while before it was removed by security personnel.

"The security personnel didn't notice it because we went and hoisted it at 5 am. They noticed it at 10 am and pulled it down. But we did it. Now they are treating the case seriously," a demonstrator told Mizzima.

"The action was meant to send a message to the junta, to embarrass it and to humiliate its political status. It is a warning against the regime’s human rights violations,” he added.

Maj-Gen Htay Oo, Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, who arrived in Japan on August 20, has kept his visit low profile. However, Mizzima reported on his trip before his departure from Rangoon.

In another incident, at least 80 Burmese pro-democracy activists held demonstrations on Monday in front of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, protesting against welcoming members of the junta and the leader of the USDA, which was founded by the military regime.

The demonstrators also called for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

The USDA, a civilian organization, which was founded basically to help the people, has become infamous among the Burmese people as members of the organization are used by the ruling regime to suppress dissidents and political opponents.

USDA members were allegedly behind the brutal attack on the motorcade of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at Debayin town in central Burma, while she was on a political tour in May 2003.

During the September monk-led protests, the USDA members were used by the junta to crackdown on demonstrating crowds.

Burma’s military supremo Senior General Than Shwe is the patron of the USDA, which is supposed to play a leading political role in the forthcoming 2010 general elections.

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