Myanmar junta imposes tight security for Martyr’s Day

YANGON - Myanmar’s ruling junta Sunday imposed tight security for the commemoration of Martyr’s Day — honouring among others the father of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi — including a ban on television coverage of the annual event.

Martyr’s Day is a national holiday commemorating the assassination of Myanmar independence hero Aung San, his brother Ba Win, six cabinet ministers and three others July 19, 1947, on the orders of rival politician U. Saw.

Myanmar’s junta last year downgraded it from a national-level ceremony hosted by the Culture Minister to a Yangon municipal event in an apparent effort to diminish the memory of Aung San, the father of Suu Kyi, who has become a symbol of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party.

Amid tight police security, about 30 NLD members marched to the Martyr’s Mausoleum Sunday morning to commemorate the death of Aung San.

One of the marchers, Naw Ohn Hla, was briefly detained for wearing a T-shirt with Aung San’s picture on it. A camera was confiscated after journalists tried to film the march, witnesses said. The equipment was later returned.

This year’s 62nd anniversary of Martyr’s Day was hosted by Yangon City Mayor Brig Gen Aung Thein Lin with no senior generals or diplomats in attendance.

“No diplomats were invited to attend the event this year. We invited some government officials, non-governmental organisations, social organisations and relatives of fallen leaders,” an official requesting anonymity said.

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