Myanmar demo over fuel price hike

Activists lead rare public protest after government doubles fuel price.

    Transport costs and the prices of many consumer goods soared following the price hike [Reuters]
    The group said the crowd swelled as bystanders joined in before dispersing after marching for about nine kilometres.
     
    The protesters, including some former student leaders who have served long prison terms, said the authorities watched and videotaped the event but did not interfere.
     
    Min Ko Naing, a former student leader, said the protest was "to reflect the hardship our people are facing due to the government's fuel price hike".
     
    "Some cars stopped and those inside clapped their hands when they knew that we were staging this performance in protest against the fuel price hike," he added.
     
    Monopoly
     

    Authorities watched the protest without
    interfering, organisers said [APPPB]

    The government of Myanmar, formerly Burma, has a monopoly on fuel sales.
     
    The immediate effect of the massive price hike was felt by commuters as bus fares increased along with prices of basic consumer goods.
     
    In a statement on Sunday, the Asia Pacific People's Partnership on Burma (APPPB) demanded that the government tackle the resulting problem of skyrocketing commodity prices and inflation rate.
     
    The APPPB said the increase in the price of natural gas was "not rational" given its abundance in the country.
     
    Khin Ohmar, the APPPB co-ordinator, quoted Ktay Kywe, a former student leader, as saying that while the majority had to walk, the military elites had vehicles that cost between $75,000 and RM250,000.
     
    "These prices are quite shocking while we all are well aware of the dire situation of the people of Burma as refugees, internally-displaced peoples, migrant labourers etc," Khin Ohmar added.
     
    On Wednesday, some workers at a garment factory in Yangon demanded salary raises to meet spiralling transportation and food prices.
     
    Another group of activists said they would stage a protest against the fuel price hike if the government fails to scrap it within a week.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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