Nationalists charged over ‘race and religion’ sticker campaign

Election officials in Mandalay have pressed charges against the organizers of a campaign that urged voters to choose candidates who “protect race and religion” ahead of last week’s election.

Soe Myint Aung, the secretary of the Aungmyethazan township election commission, filed the charges at Mandalay’s No. 2 police station on Wednesday, police sources confirmed.

Zaw Weik and U Naing were charged with violating section 58(c) of the Election Law, which prohibits “uttering, making speeches, making declarations and instigating to vote or not to vote on grounds of race and religion.”

The two are accused of leading around 50 people who distributed stickers and pamphlets urging voters to “Vote for those who protect the race and religion” on 26th Street in Mandalay’s Aungmyethazan on the morning of November 3.

Some of the campaigners were questioned by police but later released.

A similar campaign took place in Yangon’s Hlegu township on the same day. Those who distributed the stickers also wore t-shirts bearing the same message.

Zaw Wun Lay, the officer in charge of Mandalay’s No. 2 police station, where the charges were filed, said that Zaw Weik and U Naing would be taken into police custody. 

They face up to one year in prison, a maximum fine of 100,000 kyat, or both.

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