TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Protesters gathered in the center of Yangon to hear speeches by veteran democracy activists while singers led the crowd in chants of “take a rest, military dictatorship”, in the second demonstration in the city in a week.
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party launched a surprise bid in January to change the charter, pushing through parliament a proposal to form a committee to devise amendments despite objections from military-aligned lawmakers.
The proposal was Suu Kyi’s biggest challenge to the army’s power in nearly three years, and sparked a protest in the legislature from green-clad military appointees, who stood in silence for several minutes to show their opposition.
It was later approved by parliament, where the ruling NLD commands a large majority.
“We are demonstrating to support the constitutional amendments committee,” Yin Htwe, one of the organizers of Wednesday’s protest, told Reuters. “We are on the side of the people.”
In a press conference on Saturday, a spokesman for the army accused the NLD of using the “wrong procedure” to amend the 2008 charter, which it drafted during military rule.
“Forming the joint committee to amend the constitution is not in line with the constitution,” said Major-General Tun Tun Nyi.
He added, however, that army lawmakers would participate in the exercise.
Under the charter, the military is guaranteed a quarter of seats in parliament and any change requires a vote of more than 75 percent of members, giving the army an effective veto.