Monday, June 22, 2009

21 Protesters Arrested in Dhaka

(Narinjara) -21 Arakanese protesters were arrested by Bangladesh police today in Dhaka while they were staging a demonstration for the 34 Arakanese and Karen freedom fighters who have been detained by the Indian government since 1998.

Ko Kan Myint, who led the protest, said, "We are now at Gulshan police station in Dhaka and the police authorities are asking us about the protest. Some of our leaders are explaining to the police officer about the protest. I don't know what will be happening in the near future."

Today is a global action day for the 34 Arakanese and Karen freedom fighters, and many Burmese in exile are staging protests in at least 20 countries, including Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Japan, and Britain, to demand their release.

The 21 protesters, including monks and women, staged a protest against the Indian government outside of the Indian embassy in Dhaka at 9:30 am, by gathering and shouting slogans.

Within a short time a police team came to the area and picked them up in vehicles, later bringing them to the Gulshan police station.

"Our 34 freedom fighters were arrested in 1998 but their trial has not finished yet. We all Burmese people are unable to tolerate such manner of the Indian government. So we staged a demonstration against the Indian government at its embassy in Dhaka. We also demanded the Indian government release them as soon as possible," the protest leader added.

In February 1998, members of the Arakan Army and Karen liberation army led by Major Khaing Raza went to an Indian Island in the Andaman Archipelago to set up a new navy base in accordance with an agreement with the Indian army to watch Chinese military activities in the Andaman Sea.

When they arrived at the island, Indian soldiers killed Bo Raza and five other senior leaders in the group in cold blood.

The 34 freedom fighters were arrested and have been in custody since then. They are currently being detained in a prison in Kolkata.

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