Brothers charged for promoting pro-military rally online

Two men are facing charges under the Electronic Transactions Law for using Facebook to promote a pro-military rally organized by an ultranationalist leader wanted by the police.

A man who identified himself as Min Thar Gyi was arrested together with his brother on Friday after saying in a Facebook livestream that they would “give their lives” to attend the rally.

“Min Thar Gyi, also known as Aung San Oo, and his brother are currently being questioned,” Aye Sow, the chief of the Pauktaw police station in Naypyitaw’s Dekkhinathiri township, told Myanmar Now.

They were taken into custody for questioning on Friday afternoon as they approached Yar Zay Aung Myay Taw Ya monastery, located just outside of Naypyitaw on the Yangon-Mandalay highway. 

The day before, Min Thar Gyi went live on Facebook at around 9pm to urge people to attend the rally, which is scheduled to take place in Naypyitaw on January 29.

In the livestream, he said that the monastery would provide accommodation for people planning to attend the rally, which would be held under the banner, “For the patriotic army to protect the country according to the 2008 Constitution.”

“At the event on the 29th in Naypyitaw, I will surround and protect the venerable monks and civilians in support of the military so that they don’t shed any blood,” he said in the video.

“It doesn’t matter if I have to give my life. I’ll be standing on the front line so that not a single person can harm the monks or the people coming from all over the country,” he added.

The two suspects were taken into police custody as they approached this monastery on January 22. (Myanmar Now) 

Referring to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the military’s commander-in-chief, as “Daddy,” he also appeared to dare the authorities to crack down on the protestors, saying “the entire world will see how the Ministry of Home Affairs handles this.”

The ultranationalist Yeomanry Development Party (YDP), which organized the rally, confirmed on Thursday that its leader, Michael Kyaw Myint, was expected to attend the event in person despite being sought by police on multiple charges.

The most recent was laid against him on January 19 by the administrator of South Dagon township in Yangon, Ye Aung, who has charged him with sedition under article 124(a) of the penal code.

Min Thar Gyi and his brother have been charged under section 33(a) of the Electronic Transactions Law, which prohibits the use of electronic devices to commit “any act detrimental to the security of the State or prevalence of law and order.”

If convicted, they face a minimum sentence of seven years in prison, or a maximum of 15 years.

Both men have been denied bail, police told Myanmar Now.  

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