Demonstrators in Hpakant Call for Changes to Burma’s Constitution

On April 3, 2019, demonstrators in Hpakant Call for Changes to Burma’s Constitution

More than 2,000 people demanded changes to the military-drafted charter.

A demonstration held on public grounds in Kachin State’s Hpakant town on Wednesday centered on rallying support for amending Burma’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

The protest was held because the Tatmadaw—the Burmese armed forces—are generally opposed to making changes to the charter, which is seen as cementing their role in politics.

Ying Hkaw, chairperson of the organization Green Land and an organizer of Wednesday’s demonstration, told KNG that both Hpakant-based civil society groups and locals participated in the event.

“This 2008 Constitution was drawn up by the army. The people don't want it,” he said. “The current government is trying to amend the Constitution. The twenty-five percent of military MPs oppose it. We, the people, agree that this Constitution should be changed. That is why we are protesting.”

Chairperson of the Kachin National Congress Dr. Kawn La said that protest as a strategy would not lead to amendments to the Constitution.

“To change the 2008 Constitution, protesting is not enough and it is ineffective,” he told KNG. “This is politics. If they want to change it, they must start a political dialogue. It's a real political issue. It's a political problem.”

He went on to explain that the current government administration, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) must take steps to change the charter, if it is a priority.

“If they are committed to amending the Constitution, the NLD must implement a political dialogue. We want the USDP [Union Solidarity and Development Party] and the Tatmadaw to try for it,” Dr. Kawn La said.

Holding placards, more than 2,000 people participated in Wednesday’s protest today to show their support for the cause.