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Malaysian police arrested Burmese protesters

(Democratic Voice of Burma)

More than 160 Burmese nationals, mainly Chin Christians including three women, were arrested on 17 January for holding an “illegal” protest against Burma’s military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) outside its embassy in Kuala Lumpur, according to the Malaysian police.

But they were protesting against the destruction of a cross planted on a Calvary Hill in Matupi Township, Chin State in northwest Burma, on 3 January by the soldiers of the junta.

A Chin national who took part in the protest but escaped the arrest, Ko San Aung told DVB that, to add insult to the injury, the soldiers celebrated the destruction of the cross on 4 January, Burma’s Independence Day by planting a victory flag where the cross used to be. He added that the protesters also tried to highlight the religious persecutions carried out by the Burmese junta against all religions in Burma.

Any gathering of three or more people without a permit is illegal in Malaysia. If convicted, the protesters could be jailed for up to one year or fined. “They tend to send them (protesters), be they refugees, legal or illegal migrant workers, to Thailand. I think they could do that,” said San Aung.

Some of the protesters are registered as refugees at the local UNHCR office and some of them are staying in the country as illegal migrant workers.

DVB: 17 Jan 2005