The only missing item is the President’s signature to what is, in effect, a law that, for the first time in half a century, legalizes the right to protest Myanmar.
The “Peaceful Gathering and Procession Bill” is the name of the bill that will allow the staging of peaceful gatherings and marches, as approved by the Parliament of Naypyidaw, despite criticism from some lawmakers who believe the country is not ready for such demonstrations.
Although it marks a major step forward, the bill contains a number of restrictions: it will be necessary to ask for authorization at least one week in advance, it will be necessary to present detailed identification of the organizers while it will not be possible to demonstrate near government buildings, schools, hospitals and embassies.
The last mass demonstrations in 2007, had been promoted by Buddhist monks and repressed by the military junta, leaving at least 31 people dead. Last week, five monks shut themselves in a temple and posted banners demanding the release of political prisoners. The police did not intervene.