U Uttara and U Pyin Nya from the Colindale Sasana Ramsi Vihara have been arrested and are expected to face charges in court on 20th June. They were among monks arrested from a long running property dispute over a large monastery in Burma. U Uttara was helping whilst the Abbot of the monastery Penang Sayadaw was away in Japan. The monastery was built on land donated by the government but the building was paid for by donations (about 8 million dollars including from Chinese in Malaysia). The State Sangha has been in dispute for years trying to take over the monastery. Last October President Thein Sein ruled against the State Sangha and awarded the monastery back to the Abbot. Also a rule by an independent respected monk also awarded the monastery to the Abbot. Military hardliners however have now prompted the State Sangha to take over the monastery using deceitful means. Monks in charge of policing religious affairs who took part in raids, claim they were misled into thinking the monastery was occupied by temporary monks who were bearing arms, but found only legitimate peaceful monks in the monastery. However riot police doing the raid continued to arrest monks. It seems others involved in the raid eg. hired vehicles were deliberately planned to cause political embarrassment to owners who would not have known about the raid. The police were apparently also using riot gear, sold from Britain ! Although it is a long running dispute for many years, these raids seem to have been organised by military hard liners to go against President Thein Sein's ruling and add to their efforts to cause trouble ahead of the by-elections later this year and elections in 2015.
We are still waiting for full information on the charges, which include religious charges. The monks are disrobed and understood to be in Insein Prison. We expect a trial to last at least 2 months. The charges should be better known after a court hearing on 20th June.
The demo on Monday is supposed to be a bit "low key", just letting the authorities know we know of the arrests. It is not supposed to be a political demonstration. As far as I know we still intend to have a political demonstration on Thursday over the constitution.
16th June 2014
Free U Uttara and U Pyin Nya Demonstration
Urgent Action Needed.
Dear all friends in the UK,
We are writing to appeal you to join demonstration outside Burmese Embassy in London on Monday.
You may already aware of the recent brutal assault to the respectable monks including Venerable U Uttara and U Pyin Nya in Yangon.
All arrested monks were forcibly disrobed and sent to notorious Insein Prison. This is tragic news for everyone in the Burmese community in UK.
Please join and stand up for the monks who were illegally arrested by Burmese authorities in Yangon, Burma/Myanmar.
Date: 16 June 2014
Time: 12:00 - 02:00
Place: 19A Charles Street London.
Nearest station: Green park station