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Saturday, May 14, 2016, Jaistha 1, 1423 BS, Shaban 6, 1437 Hijri

New Myanmar govt mulls keeping some junta curbs
Published :Saturday, 14 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 24

YANGON, May 13 : Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi is facing criticism from rights groups and student activists who say her ruling party is planning to retain restrictions on free speech once wielded against it by the country's former junta.
Since taking power in April, former political prisoner Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has released scores of detainees and is making a big push to revise some of the most repressive measures from the long years of military rule.
But its new version of the law governing public demonstrations has prompted alarm since the proposals were submitted to parliament last week.
The draft bill would punish protesters for spreading "wrong" information and make straying away from pre-registered chants an offence. It bars non-citizens - a category that includes the largely stateless Muslim Rohingya minority - from protesting and lists criminal penalties for "disturbing" or "annoying" people.
The NLD says the new bill would introduce substantial changes to the military era legislation and was aimed at protecting peaceful protesters rather than penalizing them. But worries over the proposed Peaceful Assembly Law are compounded by concerns over the government's recent request to the U.S. ambassador to refrain from using the term "Rohingya" and Suu Kyi's refusal to speak out in support of a community that faces continuing persecution in Myanmar.
The issue is being closely watched by Suu Kyi's supporters in the West. The NLD faces sky-high expectations at home and abroad, but the Nobel peace prize winner's autocratic decision-making style makes the government's intentions hard to read.    ?REUTERS

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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