Myitsone Protest Leader Fined

Ja Hkawng at Myitkyina township court on Feb. 11, 2019

A leader in the campaign to permanently halt the Myitsone dam project in Kachin State was sentenced to pay a 10,000 kyat fine (just under US$6.50) by a Myitkyina Township court on Monday.

Ja Hkawn was charged under the Article 20 of the Peaceful Assembly Law by police officer Moe Myint following a protest on February 7 in the state capital of Myitkyina to stop the controversial China-backed hydropower project.

The protest—which involved around 7,000 people—started with a Christian prayer service, and featured placards declaring “No Myitsone Dam,” Ja Hkawn explained.

“They told us not to use loudspeakers in the protest, but we had to use them since there were many protesters,” she told KNG. “We are working for all the people,” she added, saying that the authorities should not “turn a blind eye” to their demands.

Tsaji, who is in charge of the Kachin Development Network Group, said that arresting demonstration leaders like Ja Hkawn is not in line with the protection of fundamental rights.

“Under a democratic political system, people must have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of protest. The government must [adhere to] these practices in the future,” he said.