Three monks arrested for taking part in Mandalay protests

September 30th, 2021  •  Author:   Ven. Pyinyathiha , Ven. Tayzar Linkara and Ven. Tayzainda  •  3 minute read
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Members of the Mandalay Sangha Union take part in an anti-junta protest (Supplied)

The arrests forced a temporary halt to almost daily demonstrations by monks in Myanmar’s second-largest city

By Myanmar Now

Myanmar’s coup regime has taken three Buddhist monks in Mandalay into custody in recent days, according to members of a monastic association opposed to the country’s ruling junta.

Ven. Pyinyathiha, 30, from the Kinwun Mingyi Monastery in Maha Aungmyay Township, was initially arrested on Tuesday evening by around 15 plainclothes military personnel, a member of the anti-junta Mandalay Sangha Union told Myanmar Now.

“I think they traced him to the monastery by tracking the car that took him to and from protests,” the monk said, adding that the arresting officers were fully armed.

Ven. Pyinyathiha was released on bail on Wednesday morning but then arrested again later the same day, sources at his monastery said.

Two other monks, Ven. Tayzar Linkara, 48, and Ven. Tayzainda, 45, from the Maha Wizitarama Monastery in Pyigyidagun Township, were also arrested on Tuesday.

“They made all the monks stand with their arms behind their backs and then ransacked the entire monastery,” a monk from the Mandalay Sangha Union told Myanmar Now.

The regime forces also seized vehicles parked at the monastery and returned the following day to confiscate computers and other items belonging to the two arrested monks, another monk said.

In addition to the two monks, two other individuals staying at the monastery—identified as Naing Win, 40, and Aung Min Ko, 24—were also taken into custody. The reason for their arrest was unclear, however, as neither had been involved in protests, the monk said.

All three arrests came a day after around 20 monks from various monasteries around Mandalay took part in anti-junta protests in the country’s second-largest city.

The arrests have put a temporary halt to the almost daily protests organized by the Mandalay Sangha Union, according to a member of the group.

“We were going to protest again today, but now that this has happened, we don’t dare go out right now,” he said.

He added, however, that protests would resume as soon as organizers had a chance to regroup: “We’re not going to turn back, come hell or high water. We will not shirk this duty that has fallen upon our shoulders,” he said.

Monks have played a leading role in the anti-coup movement. Senior members of the monastic community have been among the thousands arrested and tortured since the military seized power on February 1.

Despite facing relentless pressure from the regime, protesters in Mandalay and other towns and cities around the country continue to take to the streets to demand an end to the dictatorship.

Original Post: Myanmar Now