Members of the Election Commission (EC) from the nine townships in Chin State were arrested by the Burma Army on Wednesday, February 10.
Lin Kyaw, the Chin State secretary for EC, told Khonumthung News that the arrests in the middle of the night were likely related to an ongoing investigation of the state voter’s list by the military government, which made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud during the recent race before staging a coup a week and a half ago.
Prior to seizing power, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing demanded a recount of the November 8 election, claiming there were over 8.6 million irregularities in 314 townships.
Although the election was far from perfect, independent monitors were satisfied with its outcome, which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the majority of ballots.
Under the State Administration Council, which replaced the NLD government after the February 1 coup, the military said it will redo the election after about one year but failed to provided a clear timeline.
Lin Kyaw, who was in the nation’s capital, Naypyidaw, when the arrests occurred, arrived in Hakha yesterday, February 11.
“If they arrest me, I am ready for it. I already told them to please save a place for me,” he told Khonumthung News just before leaving for the Chin State capital.
Meanwhile, Terrace San Mawi Nikhuai, who was appointed as chair of the State Administration Council for Chin State has died of a stroke in his home on February 11. He served as Chief of Justice for Chin State, prior to his February 3 appointment by the military government.
In neighbouring Sagaing Region, the military government enacted martial law.
Cun Lian Thang, the General Administration Development (GAD) officer for the township, told Khonumthung News that Article 144 was imposed this Monday to stop the protests in Kalay Township.
“We’re concerned that houses will be damaged and people will be injured. Therefore, we aren’t allowing gatherings over 5 people during the day and night.” A curfew from 8 pm to 4 am was installed.
Demonstrations threatened law and order and the public’s security, he said in a statement. To restore regional stability and rule of law, no-one is allowed to gather in protest, to campaign or commit violent acts, the statement said.
In spite of this, nearly 100,000 protested against the coup in Kalay Township this Wednesday during demonstrations that broke out for the fourth day in a row. They chanted “Down with the military dictatorship”, “Support the civil disobedience movement” and called for the immediate release of those detained by the junta.
Many bystanders showed their support by clapping or raising their three-fingers, a gesture borrowed from The Hunger Games movie series and also popular among protests in Thailand.