Hundreds of people on Monday gathered in a park in Mandalay city to demand changes to Myanmar’s constitution, which is now being discussed in parliament.
The charter-change supporters were headed by the Sein Du War group, which aims to show the people’s desire to amend the controversial 2008 Constitution, which many people deem undemocratic.
U Nay Lin, secretary of the Peace Group, which participated in the march, said the rally showed that not only the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) favours charter change but the people as well.
“I’m not sure who organised this event, but I welcome the establishment of the committee to amend the constitution. Seventeen points need to be changed. I think section 436 should be changed urgently because it automatically allocates 25 percent of parliament seats to the Tatmadaw (military),” he said.
Sayadaw U Thawbita, who was prosecuted under section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law in September 2018, said that constitutional amendment should be the concern of everyone because it is related to social issues, the economy and politics. He called for more people to participate in demonstrations calling for the amendments.
“We have protested since the 2008 Constitution was introduced. When I held a public talk in Sagaing, the authorities followed us, but we evaded them by jumping on a train,” he said.
Poet San Nein Oo said the only thing good about the constitution is its cover, quoting U Win Tin, one of the founders of the NLD.
“I knew one week ago that I had to participate in this event. A civilian organisation, Maha Aung Myay, is holding this event, and three poets, including me, recited poems,” he said.
The parliament failed to agree on Friday on the composition of the committee that would draft the amendments, and a new meeting to resolve the issue is set for this Friday.
Tatmadaw members of parliament strongly oppose the move to change the constitution, saying it is not being done according to parliamentary procedure.
On January 29, the NLD approved an urgent bill to amend the constitution, the first time the party has made such a move since it took office in 2016.