Plainclothes officers nab two activists in Yangon

Two student activists were arrested in Yangon on Sunday morning while they were on their way to a protest in Thingangyun Township, according to fellow activists.

The two were identified as Zaw Lin Htut, a former member of the University Students’ Union Alumni Force (USUAF), and Su Yee Lin, the chair of the Eastern Yangon University Students Union.

“They were arrested on their way to a protest. We haven’t had any contact with them since,” said USUAF member Nan Lin.

The arresting officers were reportedly plainclothes military personnel, but no further details of the arrest were available at the time of reporting.

According to Nan Lin, Zaw Lin Htut is also a freelance reporter and a member of Peacock Generation (Daung Doh Myo Sat), a group that performs thangyat, a traditional form of political satire popular in Myanmar.  

In 2018, he was sentenced to two years in prison for taking part in a performance deemed insulting to the military. He was released in June 2020.

“He used to be involved in politics. These days, he is writing news. Knowing that the military is targeting journalists, we’re very worried for the lives of both Phoe Thar and Su Yee Lin,” said Nang Lin, referring to Zaw Lin Htut by his nickname.

The families of the two detainees have received no information about where they are being held, he added. 

Despite violent crackdowns, “flash mob” protests against the regime that seized power in February continue in Yangon and other cities around the country. 

Earlier this month, junta troops rammed a vehicle into a crowd of protesters in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township before firing several shots and making multiple arrests. 

As many as five people are believed to have been killed in that incident, although the junta has denied that there were any casualties, despite evidence to the contrary.

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