Citizens helping, officials hindering

(Latest roundup of some Burmese language reports following Cyclone Nargis

As the military regime in Burma continues to obstruct relief efforts from abroad, and especially hamper foreign staff of aid groups (see the latest news about this on The Irrawaddy) most of the news in Burmese language reports has been about the efforts of fellow citizens to help the victims of the disaster, the obstacles that government officials are also putting in their paths, and the lack of help getting through to some areas.

According to Yoma 3 News, monks in Mandalay who have been collecting items and money to donate to victims have been asked by the authorities there to donate through official channels, but have refused. A monk told Yoma 3 that

“We are collecting things at the Mandalay Maha Gandharyone Monastery. About four days back the divisional head came to the monastery and said to give them the things; that they would be delivered through them. The Gandharyone temple didn’t accept this.”

The items collected at the temple include clothes, clean water and rice. One lot of items had already been sent successfully and the temple is now preparing for a second round.

The efforts of Kyaw Thu’s social welfare group and comedian Zarganar together with some prominent actors and others have also been reported on.

However, there are still seriously affected areas where no aid has been received eleven days after the cyclone. According to the New Era Journal, in Kunchangone, which is only some 30 miles from Rangoon, virtually no help has arrived and there is now an outbreak of cholera.

An eyewitness from a group of private citizens who went to the riverside area about three miles from the town, including villages Kyunchaung, Kayan, Tawkyi, Tawkayan and Thonehkwa, told the journal that

“It’s totally demolished. Nothing can be done with the houses that are lying flattened on the ground. People are sitting around nearby looking. Nothing has arrived yet for rebuilding the rooves. No food or medicine has arrived yet. The corpses are just lined up along a steep hillside. Dead people, dead cows, dead buffaloes, none of the dead can be cleared away. There’s quite a stink. Up to yesterday there were clearly yet more washed up further along the riverbank.”

Theirs was the first group to get through to these villages with any type of help and there were cholera cases already in about seven households that they saw, including among children, but no medicines to be had. The seawater had flooded drinking water supplies and fields and around 4000 people there are homeless and some 300 have died so far.

On their way into the area they were stopped at a checkpoint and the vehicles they were travelling in checked for foreigners who would be prohibited entry, they were told.

The eyewitness added that wherever they went in the affected areas they met people shouting and crying for food and water. In some places where the government had made an official distribution, in the nine days since the cyclone there had only been two distributions of two condensed milk tins of rice for an entire family.

There is also a report on Kunchangone in English on DVB.

New Era reports too that people living in Hlaingthayar on the outskirts of Rangoon have not been able to rebuild their houses because they haven’t yet been given any materials even though the rains have started again. A resident of section 18 in the township said that

“At night it rained here. People who haven’t been able to rebuild their houses sleeping on embankments had to take shelter in vendors’ stalls.”

Sections 18, 19 and 20 were the worst affected parts of Hlaingthayar and Shwelinpan section had not long ago been hit by fire also. These sections house workers employed in the nearby industrial areas as well as other parts of the city. A worker staying in Ye-okkan section said that

“Work has been suspended. Food prices are rising. Without income we are hoping for handouts. If they cook rice soup, we go and drink it. If they serve rice then we go and eat it. That’s how it is. There’s been absolutely no foreign aid reach the people.”

The section council has been accused of selling materials sent for use for cyclone victims, and also telling people who want sheets of zinc for roofing that they have to give 500 Kyat per sheet (around 40 US cents) just to apply, although no sheets have so far been distributed. A resident of section 8 said that after General Thein Sein, the prime minister, came and gave a few bags of rice and other provisions the Union Solidarity and Development Association and Swan-arshin gangs took everything away. The same thing happened when some actors and actresses also came to donate.

In Bogalay too officials have been selling sheets of zinc at 4000 Kyat per piece, VOA says, and foreign aid is not reaching the affected people but has been kept in warehouses and other buildings. (See also the report on officials skimming aid at The Irrawaddy an another on DVB about theft by officials in Rangoon which is backed by similar reports in Burmese such as this on VOA concerning the delivery of US aid.) For this reason the people in Irrawaddy Division and elsewhere are relying heavily on donors coming to their aid from other parts of the country, including private citizens and some companies that have brought supplies and distributed them from local buildings, one local resident said. When asked if the bodies shown on internet websites floating in the water had since been cleared by the authorities,

“They haven’t collected any of the corpses. They are bobbing along with the tides. Even today they can still be seen near the Daw Tin Mya bridge, the monastery. The arms and so on of some are said to be decomposing. Boats are going around them. I asked some people coming from the countryside, they said that the villagers are burying the corpses left in the fields after the water’s receded. They’re digging pits and burying them.”

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5 responses to “Citizens helping, officials hindering

  1. Monks prevented from working with other donors

    May 16, 2008 (DVB)
    –A Mandalay abbot involved in aid efforts in Rangoon said the authorities have tried to prevent his group working with non-governmental organisations, and have said all aid must go through local officials.

    In more than ten days since Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, the military regime has still not provided effective assistance to cyclone victims.

    Social services, celebrities from the Burmese film industry and monks have been helping people in the worst-affected areas by donating food and other supplies.

    However, those who work on relief efforts have been told by the authorities not to cooperate with the monks and donors have been directed to channel their financial contributions through the division commander.

    In an interview with DVB, the abbot from Mandalay’s Maha Gandaryon monastery gave details of the current aid operation and urged the regime not to place any restriction on relief efforts.

    Abbot: We have stockpiled aid (clothing, rice, noodle, sugar, etc.) in Rangoon already but we haven’t started the distribution. We have heard about some difficulties with regard to aid distribution. Some people told us that we couldn’t distribute supplies by ourselves but some said we could. So, we will see how it goes. We are now getting trucks to take aid to different places.

    DVB: We have heard that any cash donations for cyclone survivors must be channelled through the division commander. How you are going to donate the cash you have collected?

    Abbot: We will donate the cash to survivors ourselves. We don’t have any plans to channel our donation through the division commander. As for relief supplies, local authorities will send them to our destinations without taking any charge. I think they will do so with permission from the division commander.

    DVB: Do you think you may face restrictions when you go along with your plan?

    Abbot: We are still in the preparation stages. We have contacted some private organizations and services, and found out that they were told by the authorities not to work with us in aid distribution. They said we can’t go with them. We can only give them our supplies and they will distribute them for us but we don’t want to do it that way. We want to go on the ground and give supplies to people in person. They said they dare not go with us.

    DVB: So what are you going to do?

    Abbot: We will try our best to distribute aid according to our plan.

    DVB: Where will your main focus areas be for distributing aid to cyclone victims?

    Abbot: We have started small-scale distribution today in Daydaye township. We sent five boxes of clothing, four big packs of noodle and one pack of water purification liquid for one village in Daydaye where half of the village was destroyed and about 30 people got killed. Monks took those supplies to the abbot in that village and the distribution was taken care by months. For us we don’t know where we are going, still preparing for our trip. We may visit Maaupin township though.

    DVB: Could you please tell me about the monks’ involvements in the current relief efforts?

    Abbot: We have heard that U Nyarneikthara and other monks have been in Bogalay working on aid distribution. Dr U Kawwita, U Kawthanhla (Dhammayanzaydi) and other months are also working on relief efforts. We were informed about the work of monks in Myingyan and Pakokkhu but we still don’t know exactly what they are doing.

    DVB: We have heard that famous abbots have not been permitted to offer Buddhist teachings in public since the aftermath of the September 2007 protests. Now you are organizing public gatherings to offer Buddhist teachings and collect donations for cyclone victims, although donations to needy people are supposed to be sent through the division commander. So what do you think of the fact that the authorities allow such gatherings at the moment?

    Abbot: Well…we think those gatherings are allowed may be because they (authorities) think that monks are helping those who are in trouble as much they can. We have heard that some gatherings were organized by the arrangement of division commander but we don’t know exactly about the proceedings. In most cases, we think monks collected donations as if they were going to give them to needy people themselves but we don’t know if they might hand them over to the division commander later. We can’t say anything about the government’s permission on gatherings at the moment. Since we won’t hand over any donation to government officials, we don’t know if we will be allowed to organize public gatherings. It will be obvious why others were permitted to organize Buddhist gatherings when we actually organize our own.

    DVB: Any news on Buddhist gatherings that are being held? Do you think the regime will stop them?

    Abbot: We haven’t heard any reports that the authorities will stop the gatherings. We think they can’t bring themselves to ban the gatherings since no one is trying to relate the events to politics and neither are we. Our focus is simply on humanitarian efforts, trying to help needy people as much as we can. We think relief works shouldn’t be restricted. So far, we haven’t heard that people in temporary camps have been given international aid.

    Yesterday, we visited Dala area and people there told us that they had received only a small amount of supplies, mostly coming from private donors and not from the government. They told us many stories they have encounterd. They told us how authorities have cheated on aid, how people are listed in the camp (authorities put the names of their relatives at the beginning of the list so whenever aid is distributed their relatives will be first and the rest will receive either smaller amounts or nothing.), and so on.

    DVB: As you have heard that authorities are exploiting and selling aid that are meant for people in trouble, what do you think of that kind of act according to Buddhist teaching?

    Abbot: This is something no one should do. It is inappropriate and very sinful to exploit the misfortunes of others.

    DVB: Last September, the chief abbot of Bago’s Kyakatwai monastery said that the way monks took to the street was against Buddhist rules and regulations. Now monks are on the streets clearing roads and trees devastated by the cyclone, and working on relief efforts. Do you think that is against Buddhist rules and regulations? Abbot: Monks are not supposed to cut trees or branches that are still alive but novices can. For example, the branches of the Banyan tree can grow even when the tree itself has been deracinated so monks cannot cut those branches. Of course monks can clear or carry away trees or branches that have already been cut down either by novices or monastery assistants, and this is not against the rules and regulations.

    DVB: Anything else you want to say?

    Abbot: We believe the monks’ involvement in relief efforts can give some support to the current aid distribution carried out by the government and the international community. So the authorities shouldn’t impose any restriction on monks and should allow them to carry on with their activities freely. We just don’t distribute aid to people via the authorities but that doesn’t mean that we won’t cooperate with them. Of course, we will work with them in terms of getting the list of those who are in need and arranging for aid distribution. We will directly give aid to people in person, that’s all.

    The people’s current troubles can only be alleviated if free access for relief efforts is granted, so we implore the government not to put any restrictions on relief work.

    Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

  2. Volunteers Turn to Task of Collecting Bodies
    By MIN LWIN, Thursday, May 22, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Nearly three weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta on the night of May 2-3, volunteers have finally begun to turn their attention to the daunting task of pulling bodies from rivers and fields.

    With most relief efforts directed towards saving the survivors of the cyclone, it may fall to the Rangoon-based Free Funeral Services Society (FFSS), a non-profit organization, to coordinate efforts to deal with some of the more than 100,000 left dead in the wake of Nargis.

    Kyaw Thu, head of the FFSS, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the group had received requests from Kansu village, in Bogalay Township, for help with removing the bodies that are scattered throughout the area.

    An acclaimed actor and social activist, Kyaw Thu was jailed by Burma’s ruling junta for a month last year after joining monk-led protests in September.

    Members of the FFSS have so far concentrated their efforts on helping survivors of the cyclone, as part of a far-reaching drive by ordinary Burmese to help their compatriots through the aftermath of one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the country in recent history.

    But after weeks of directing their energies towards the living, the group has been asked to clean up the dead.

    “It has become an essential task, because the bodies have been there for a very long time now,” said Kyaw Thu, adding that efforts would be hampered by a lack of manpower and machinery to pull bodies from the floodwaters.

    He also added that, due to cyclone damage to a crematorium run by a local chapter of the FFSS, the group would be unable to cremate the dead.

    “The government will be responsible for cremating the dead in accordance with Burmese tradition,” he said.

    Local people from Bogalay Township said that so far, no bodies have been removed from the rivers of the delta area by local or international non-governmental organizations.

    “It’s tragic to see the bodies,” said a doctor from one relief organization. “We are Burmese, and we have to work together to deal with this tragic situation.”

    Meanwhile, sources in the Irrawaddy delta area said that local members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, a junta-backed social organization, have been seen throwing bodies into floodwaters in an effort to dispose of them.

    Hundreds of thousands of homes, farms and businesses were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, which affected 2.5 million people across the delta, leaving many without food and shelter.

  3. Phyu Phyu Thin and team help remote villagers

    May 21, 2008 (DVB)–HIV/AIDS activist Phyu Phyu Thin has taken a team of relief workers to provide assistance to a remote village that aid efforts have so far failed to reach.

    Cyclone victims living in remote areas of the Irrawaddy delta’s Dadaye township have been facing severe hardship, food shortages and poor living conditions because rescue teams have not come to help them, according to Phyu Phyu Thin.

    Recently released from detention, Phyu Phyu Thin went to Yayphyankone village located adjacent to the sea in Dadaye township on Sunday to donate relief supplies to cyclone victims.

    Lawyer U Aung Thein accompanied her team, who distributed clothing, medicine, cooking pots and plates among the survivors.

    U Aung Thein told DVB that immediate provision of food, shelter and healthcare provisions are urgently needed for the victims.

    DVB interviewed Phyu Phyu Thin to find out the situation of the people there in detail.

    PPT: The village is hard to reach, far away from town, so nobody has been there to help people. We were the first relief group to arrive, 15 days after the cyclone. Before the disaster, there were over 500 people in the village. One hundred and twenty-six people were killed by the storm so only 300 or so remain. Most of the houses and two schools were also destroyed. Currently, there are only a few houses in the village. They are in dire need of help.

    DVB: How are they surviving?

    PPT: Most of them are sheltering in the monastery there while some are staying at the remaining houses. The monastery was not totally destroyed. There are so many children in the village. As for food, the adults go to other places to look for food and then bring it back to the village to eat together with their families. They also have some rice left to cook but it is wet so they put it out in the sun before the cook it.

    DVB: Did you see any dead bodies there?

    PPT: We saw dead bodies lying by the water. We also saw dead buffalo and cows floating. There is still a bad smell swirling around.

    DVB: What is the mental state of the refugees there?

    PPT: We saw some women with abnormal conditions. Some children look unconscious since they no longer have their parents. We saw a woman running around shouting, “Teacher, please come quickly, come quickly”. The cyclone has affected people both physically and mentally. We need to treat them and take better care of their mental conditions. A lot of work needs to be done to provide the basic necessities for their survival and rehabilitate their lives in the future.

    Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

    ———————————

    Pakokku monks collect aid for cyclone victims

    May 21, 2008 (DVB)–Monks from four teaching monasteries in Pakokku have raised 10,000,000 kyat and collected materials such as clothing, rice, beans and oil from local people.

    The monks plan to donated the money and goods directly to cyclone victims on 22 May, a monk from one of the monasteries said.

    “We collected the donations mainly from the residents of the town and surrounding villages,” the monk said.

    “We distribute leaflets in advance informing people that the donations would be given directly to the victims,” he said.

    “We told them that we would donate them personally, and we will keep that promise.”

    The monk said the priority areas for relief had already been identified.

    “I am surprised by the generosity of Pakokku people – I estimate that the donations come to more than 10 million,” the monk said.

    “We had already systematically investigated the areas where aid is needed with the help of the people of Bogalay,” he said.

    “We told them to take us to the places that need help and said we would cooperate with them to provide it.”

    The monk stressed the importance of prioritising the aid effort over other concerns.

    “We want everyone to help, leaving aside their own worries,” he said.

    “As for other people, they should also leave aside their other paths and intentions for a while and help these people in trouble.”

    Civilians who collected donations were reportedly forced to give local authorities 500,000 kyat through the Union Solidarity and Development Association, with a total of around 2 million kyat given to authorities.

    The monks have not so far faced harassment from USDA members or been forced to give them the money they collected.

    Reporting by Aye Nai

  4. Authorities Tighten Restrictions on Private Aid Efforts
    By MIN LWIN Friday, May 23, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Private aid convoys from Rangoon, which have provided a lifeline to victims of Cyclone Nargis in some hard-hit areas of the Irrawaddy delta, are facing tighter restrictions by local authorities, who say that the government now has the situation under control.

    At a checkpoint near the Panhlaing Bridge in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township, trucks and other vehicles carrying supplies to the delta are being stopped and inspected, according to local nongovernmental organizations and other private donors.

    “The security officers told me not to distribute things along the road and gave me a pamphlet,” said a relief worker who passed through the checkpoint, where guards recorded license plate numbers of vehicles traveling to Kungyangone and Twante Townships located in the Irrawaddy delta.

    According to the relief worker, the pamphlet claimed that the government had completed its emergency operations in the area, and was now undertaking efforts to rehabilitate the local population. It added that private donations were disrupting these efforts, as they made people in the area less willing to work.

    Relief workers who have visited some of the hardest-hit areas deny that the government’s efforts have been effective in dealing with the crisis, which they say remains far from over.

    Meanwhile, private donations—of money, food, water, clothing and other basic necessities—continue to be collected throughout the country.

    Much of this informal aid effort is being handled by Buddhist monks, who are overseeing the distribution of scarce resources to cyclone survivors in areas that have seen little assistance from the government.

    “I am afraid that the victims won’t receive the assistance,” said one donor, explaining why he declined to make donations through the government.

    ——————————–

    Local People Respond to Call for Aid
    By SAW YAN NAING Friday, May 23, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    The Burmese public is responding generously to the call for help from fellow citizens who lost family members, homes and livelihoods in Cyclone Nargis. But often its efforts are blocked by official obstruction.

    The helpers and donors include business people, dissidents, journalists, religious leaders and celebrities like the comedian Zarganar. Other celebrities joining in the relief effort include the comedian Nga Pyaw Kyaw and actors Kyaw Thu, Lu Min, Yazar Ne Win, Soe Myat Thu Zar and singer Zaw Win Htut.

    Many have toured the devastated Irrawaddy delta region, encountering suspicious officials who tell them aid must be channeled through recognized authorities.

    A Rangoon journalist said she had collected about 2 million kyat (about US $1,700) and had visited Dedaye and Kungyangone, distributing aid there. Local news organizations have collected up to 100 million kyat (about $8,700). One Rangoon businessman donated about 3 million kyat (about $2,600).

    Zarganar organized relief aid and visited Pyapon and Dedaye by boat, accompanied by colleagues from Burma’s show business world. “Some cried when they saw the people in the devastated areas, There were no experienced relief workers to help them.”

    Nga Pyaw Kyaw, who visited Dedaye, Kungyangone and Ma-Ubin, said: “Many survivors are living outdoors. There is no shelter for them and they just stay beside the road. We gave them rice, cooking oil, salt, pots, cups, plates, plastic sheeting, candles, soap and biscuits.”

    Nga Pyaw Kyaw said about 3,000 cyclone survivors in Kungyangone, in Rangoon Division, were living outdoors, at the roadside.

    A housewife in Bogalay said: “I have to live on the street now. I have to beg for food. We heard about so-called international aid, but it hasn’t reached us. I saw a truck carrying plastic sheeting and zinc roofing, but it was for sale.”

    She is one of thousands of refugees in Bogalay who have received no relief supplies or shelter. Many seek refuge in monasteries and schools, she said.

    A Roman Catholic pastor, Myint Soe, said he was caring for more than 1,000 survivors, including orphans, at his church in Wakema, in the Irrawaddy delta.
    Some donors and helpers complain that security forces are monitoring their work and interrogate them when they attempt to hand over relief supplies.

    Some said they had been told all aid must be channeled through the military authorities. Members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association intimidated private donors attempting to deliver relief supplies, said Rangoon sources.

    Soe Kyi, a Rangoon volunteer, said he was stopped by local officials in suburban Thaketa Township, and asked if he had obtained permission from the authorities to distribute aid.

    Members of the Rangoon-based private charity “Free Funeral Services Society,” led by actor Kyaw Thu, were approached by plainclothes military officers when they tried to buy dried fish for cyclone victims in Rangoon’s Bayint Naung wholesale market. The authorities also questioned a shop owner, sources said.

    ——————————–

    ‘We All Were in Tears’
    By MARSHALL Friday, May 23, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    I drove to Dedaye in the Irrawaddy delta this week with a team of Burmese citizens who work for an international NGO to offer food, water, clothes and medicine to survivors.

    Altogether, our team numbered about two dozen people, including one doctor, a professor and teachers. We did what we could in the villages we passed along the way.

    The road to Dedaye, the nearest town to Rangoon among the towns in the delta, was a terrifying sight. Miserable, desperate, hopeless people lined the road. The people who survived Cyclone Nargis are going to die if sustained aid doesn’t reach them soon. That’s what we thought.

    With no shelter, people stood or sat in heavy rain from dawn to dusk, waiting for help from volunteer donors from Rangoon.

    These survivors said they have received nothing from the government. Police were deployed in the area last week, but they appear to do nothing but check on people entering the area. They are fully equipped with food and other supplies.

    In the villages of Phayagyi and Mageekan there were no medical supplies. Kawhmu, near Dedaye, had one hospital but no medicine or medical staff.

    In Mageekan village there was a church filled with survivors with nothing to eat. The church community leader said they had seen no medical personnel before we showed up. Many of these people suffered from diarrhea. We left some medicine and gave them instructions on dosage.

    For the people living along the road, the conditions are conducive to various deceases, especially diarrhea and pneumonia. Many elderly people and children were sick. They had no source of sanitary drinking water. We gave what food, water, medicine and clothes we had.

    When we reached Dedaye, we saw the town had been devastated by the storm. There was no sign of any government aid effort in the town. The roads were filled with survivors, many from surrounding villages, who were relying on volunteer donors from Rangoon for handouts.

    I made a video to show the appalling conditions, all the while fearing a government official might see me and arrest me. We were all in tears as we returned home.

    I now feel like a sort of helpless victim myself. I wish I had more power to help the people who are living in utter despair and hopelessness.

    The writer is a Burmese citizen who works for an international aid organization.

  5. Private aid trucks seized by police

    May 27, 2008 (DVB)
    –Forty-two trucks on their way back from taking private donations to cyclone victims in Daydaye and Pyapon townships on Sunday were seized on arrival at Hlaing Tharyar township’s Pan Hlaing bridge by police.

    A private donor who went with the truck said traffic police stopped the trucks when they arrived in Hlaing Tharyar township the on evening of 25 May and asked the drivers to go to the Government Technology Institute compound in Insein township but refused to give an explanation for the hold-up.

    “They only said they were acting on the orders of their superiors but they refused to tell us whether we were being arrested or not,” said the donor.

    “We then asked them to make us clear if they were arresting us for donating items to cyclone victims but they only told us to please understand them.”

    The truck drivers were released at around midnight that night and trucks were given back at around 2pm the next day, but the authorities refused to return the drivers’ licenses, according to sources close to the drivers.

    The private donor said the Pan Hlaing bridge crossing, which was the main route used by donors to travel to disaster zones, has been shut down by the authorities, causing a delay to the flow of relief supplies to victims.

    “Now it is impossible for any helpers to reach to the victims,” he said.

    Reporting by Aye Nai

    ——————————-

    Over 70 cars impounded after distribution of relief material
    Phanida Tuesday, 27 May 2008 20:11, Mizzima

    About 70 vehicles were impounded on Sunday when they returned from the Irrawaddy Delta after donating relief material to cyclone victims.

    The police force led by Police Maj. U Luu Win seized the cars at the entrance of Panhlaing Bridge on their way back to Rangoon. The exercise was on the whole of Sunday evening.

    “There were about 50 cars lined up on the bridge. The cars were seized at about 8 p.m. yesterday. There were about 22 cars in the Government Technical College (GTC) campus. The car owners were summoned to the police department but their cars have not yet been returned,” the in-charge of NLD Youth Information Department said.

    The police said that the cars were seized for flouting the law. All these cars need to take permission from local authorities of the Township Peace and Development Council (PDC) of Dallah, Twante, Kunchankong, Kawhmu and Dadeye for making trips for donation to the cyclone victims. The police said that they had already announced on May 8 for donors not to throw relief supplies to cyclone victims lining the highway. This would weaken the victims and not allow them to be back on their feet.

    “The authorities said that donating to victims is not a problem, but throwing the relief material on the road created a lot of problems. It would have a negative impact and jeopardize the government’s relief efforts, they said. The victims are now objecting to the government’s plan to house them in government relief centres, the authorities complained,” Ko Zarganar (Tweezers), the renowned comedian into relief operations said.

    The impounded cars are being kept in the GTC campus and car owners have been told to come back today. The policemen who are seizing the cars are from Kyaikkasan Interrogation Centre, U Kyaw Thu, actor and a leader of free funeral service, said.

    “Many said that the cars were impounded by both the police and the army from Kyaikkasan Interrogation Centre. Last night about 100 cars were detained. Private donors with two Toyota Hilux pickups were arrested last night. But the donors were released late at night and but the cars are in police custody,” U Kyaw Thu said.

    “Impounding vehicles of Burmese people who are helping their fellow Burmese is not done Today they warned us and made a fuss about traffic rules and checked our cars to see if the lamps and indicators are working,” he said.

    The authorities have continued restrictions and arrests by stopping many cars going to the Delta in Dadeye and Maubin checkposts. Private donors had to leave their cars with a person to guard it and the goods. They had to come back from these check posts, Daw Myint Myint Mu, a member of ‘Human Rights Defender and Promoters Network (HRDP) said.

    The riot police was deployed today at the entrance of Panhlaing Bridge.

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