Myanmar authorities begin legal action against five protesters
May 17, Naypyidaw: Myanmar authorities have begun legal action against five protesters over a weekend rally intended to promote religious tolerance.
The move on Monday came as rights groups raise concerns about efforts by the new pro-democracy government to amend draconian laws on demonstrations, reports said.
On Saturday, several activists and students marched through Yangon in a rare gesture of religious solidarity in the diverse nation, where rising
Buddhist nationalism has stoked anti-Muslim sentiment and sporadic bouts of bloodshed in recent years.
Police said they decided to take action against five rally leaders - believed to be three women and two men of several faiths - because the campaigners had deviated from the agreed protest route.
They now face a charge that could land them in jail for up to six months under a controversial law, currently being reviewed by the new government led by political prisoner-turned-politician Aung San Suu Kyi.
"We have started legal action against five protest leaders under Section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly Act," police Lieutenant Major Win Tin from Kyauktada township told AFP news agency.
The Oslo Times