More than 200 Chin people gathered in Yangon on Saturday to call for an end to clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township, and to demand that the AA leave the state completely.
The demonstrators flew the state flag at
their protest in front of Yangon’s city hall and held placards that stated
their demands: “Stop War in Chin State” and “Save Paletwa”. Others called for
the release of Chin civilians detained by AA forces since February.
“We want to talk to both the [Burma] Army and the AA. Some people say the situation [in Chin State]is not as bad as in Kachin, Shan or Rakhine states, but the difference is that we didn’t create this problem, and yet we suffer a lot because of it,” said Salai Cieu Bik Thawng, a leading campaigner for Chin civilians displaced by the conflict.
“We didn’t start this fire, but we have to deal with this mess. That’s why we’re really suffering in our heart because of this,” he said in his speech in downtown Yangon.
The protesters also called on the government and the Chin National Front (CNF) to implement a Union-level ceasefire agreement signed by the two sides in December 2012. Section 8(c) of the agreement permits the presence of only two armed groups in the state—the Burma Army and the CNF.
They also urged the two parties involved in the current conflict to stop fighting and resolve their differences through political dialogue.
Nearly 3,000 ethnic Chin civilians in Paletwa Township have been displaced by clashes between the Burma Army and the AA. Campaigners for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the state say that they desperately need more humanitarian assistance.
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FACEBOOK: Nearly 3,000 ethnic Chin civilians in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township have been displaced by fighting between Burmese government forces and the Arakan Army.
TWITTER: #Protesters also called for the release of ethnic Chin civilians detained by the #ArakanArmy #ChinState #Paletwa #Burma #Myanmar