After Myanmar’s parallel government abolishes military’s constitution, protesters burn copies in the street  

Anti-coup protesters burn copies of the 2008 constitution near Inya Lake in Yangon on April 1 (Supplied)

Protesters across the country burned copies of Myanmar’s military-drafted constitution on Thursday, a day after the country’s parallel government officially abolished the widely hated charter.  

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), formed by lawmakers who were unable to take their seats due to the February 1 coup, said the 2008 charter had prolonged dictatorship and prevented Myanmar from becoming a federal democracy.  

The charter, drafted under Than Shwe’s regime, reserved 25% of all parliamentary seats for unelected soldiers and gave the military control of three key ministries. 

It also kept Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president by barring anyone with close relatives who are foreign citizens from the role. Her late husband was British and her two sons hold foreign citizenship. 

It was adopted in a rigged referendum that went ahead as the country was reeling from the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis. 

The CHRP also released a new interim charter on Wednesday, which was drafted with input from various groups, including ethnic armed organisations. 

The interim charter lays out a plan to form an “interim national unity government” whose duties will be, among other things, to “weaken the governance mechanisms” of the regime, to support the Civil Disobedience Movement and make arrangements for “national defense”. 

The document also lays out plans for a constitutional convention followed by a national referendum to approve a new charter. 

On Thursday morning, members of the Dagon University Students Union set several copies of the 2008 charter alight in Yangon’s Tamwe township, and residents in the area joined them.

Min Han Htet, the union’s chair, said the 2008 constitution was drafted for a group of dictators who murder their own citizens.

“Today, all of us, the people and the students, announce the abolition of the 2008 constitution by setting it on fire in the streets,” he told Myanmar Now.

Another group of protesters burned copies beside Inya Lake near Yangon University.

“I’m worried that the CRPH, the NLD and the military will try to go back under the 2008 constitution again,” said a woman who took part in the protest.

Many residents in Mandalay also joined the action. “The military dictatorship has been prolonged because of the 2008 constitution,” said a local member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, who asked not to be named. 

“We have been protesting against it for a long time… Now we’ve burnt copies of it to welcome the action taken by the CRPH,” the member added.