Nyi Nyi Kyaw, a veteran of the 1988 uprising, arrested in Mandalay 

A veteran of the 1988 uprising was arrested in Mandalay on Saturday as police fired rubber bullets into the air to disperse a group of residents who had gathered to detain and question a stranger who showed up in the area. 

Nyi Nyi Kyaw was on his way home after helping out at the funeral of Zaw Myo Ko, who was shot in the neck on Friday by security forces, when he noticed people questioning a man and went to see what was happening.

“While the community was inspecting the stranger, the police arrived, dispersed the crowd, and arrested my father who had fallen on the ground,” Nyi Nyi Kyaw’s son, Nyi Myo Sat, told Myanmar Now. 

Nyi Nyi Kyaw is being held in Mandalay’s Obo Prison and has not been allowed to see his family.

Locals said that four strangers were dropped by a car at the corner of 62nd and 102nd streets on Saturday afternoon. The community members tried to detain them all but three escaped. 

Residents across the country are on high alert amid rumours that the regime is sending released prisoners into neighbourhoods to sow fear and commit violence, though reports of such tactics have been difficult to verify. 

The stranger who the Mandalay patrol group caught was found to be carrying a Citizenship Scrutiny Card that belongs to Dr Tay Zar San, who is the subject of an arrest warrant because of his opposition to the military regime. 

Dr Tay Zar San is the president of the Yone Kyi Yar Knowledge Sharing Group, a local research and parliamentary monitoring group. 

Several other senior figures in Mandalay have been targeted with arrest warrants. They include Khin Maung Lwin, the rector of the Mandalay University of Medicine, and Wai Wai Oo, the superintendent of a 300-bed hospital.

Aung Mon Thet, the chair of the Mandalay University Teachers Union, and Aung Aung Min, the rector of Yadarbone University, are also wanted for arrest, as are local MP Myint Aung Moe, lawyers Tun Kyi and Myo Swe, and the musician Sein Duu War. 

They have all been charged with section 505a, a clause recently amended to effectively outlaw encouraging government workers to strike.

Nyi Nyi Kyaw remained politically active in Mandalay up until his arrest. He was part of the Metta Campaign Youth project, which monitored the activities of Mandalay’s parliament, and he conducted research into the Mandalay City Development Committee. He also worked on youth empowerment. 

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said on Saturday that there have been 1,758 arrests since February 1.


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