Protestors to send appeal letter to Myanmar National Human Rights Commission over bridge name in Mon State

March 30, 2017

The central organizing committee of protesters opposed to the controversial decision to name a bridge after General Aung San in Mon State held a press conference in Dar Tu Marla Monastery, Mawlamyine on March 29.

The committee announced they would send an appeal letter to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission among other government departments.

The decision to name a bridge after General Aung San in Mon State made by the government and the parliament doesn’t reflect the voices of the locals. We will send an appeal letter to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, the Minster of Ethnic Affairs, the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) and the Ethnic Affairs Committee,” said Mi Kon Chan Non, a leader of the central committee of protestors against the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge.

March saw several escalating protests against the naming of the bridge. On March 2, 2017, approximately 3,000 people from Mon State participated in a protest against the naming of the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge after General Aung San. However, on March 14, the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) made a controversial decision to go ahead with the name, despite large-scale local opposition. In response, on March 19, nearly 30,000 people of Mon, Karen, and Pa-O ethnicity from across southeast Burma gathered in Mawlamyine to continue protesting against the decision.

When there had been no response by March 29 from the government, the central committee of protesters issued a press conference to explain their future plans to the media.

Regarding the naming process of the bridge, the local people from the Chaungzone Island had already organized a protest and thousands of Mon people and other ethnic people from across Mon State organized a protest in Mawlamyine and also sent letters to the particular departments. But, to date, there is no reply from the government,” said Nai Ong Mon, another leader of the central committee.

The Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge began construction on February 8, 2015 under the previous government of U Thein Sein and was planned to be opened on February 13, 2016. The Mon State Ministry of Construction sent an invitation to the Deputy Speaker of the Mon State Parliament Dr Aung Nine Oo to join the opening ceremony, announcing the government’s plan to change the name of the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge after General Aung San.

The Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge is 1,759-feet-long and 64-feet-wide and the approach ways of the bridge between Mawlamyine and Chaungzone are 689-feet-long and 2,756-feet-long.

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