Burma does it first
- Burma: Peaceful Assembly and Procession Bill — five days’ notice, street rallies allowed, flags and symbols allowed PASSED
- Malaysia: Peaceful Assembly Bill — 30 days notice, no street protests, 50 metres away from public places, and police will tell you what to do, or else
Compiled from news agency reports
Four years after the Burmese military opened fire on public protests led by Buddhist monks and university students, in which at least 30 died and thousands were arrested, Asean’s military-run leper state has passed a law to allow protests in public spaces, including street marches, with five days’ notice.
Malaysia’s draft legislation, the Peaceful Assembly Bill, requires 30 days’ notice and does not allow protests to take place in public places but only in areas designated by the police.
Burma has never allowed its citizens the right to protest in public. Full details of the law are not immediately available. One MP was quoted as saying it allows flags and party symbols, but protesters must avoid government buildings, schools, hospitals and embassies.
Organisers must also submit their full biographical details to the police, and slogans to be chanted by protesters must be approved in advance by the police, according to western news reports.Vodpod videos no longer available.
The penalty for protests without approval is one year’s imprisonment.
The legislation will become law after ratification by Burma’s president. A surprising number of reformist laws have been passed by the country’s Parliament — the first after 50 years of military rule — including the right to form trade unions, and the right of unions to conduct public protests.
Burma was elected to assume the rotating chairmanship of Asean in 2014 and the reforms are believed to have been made in order to make Burmese chairmanship more palatable after years of brutal repression of the Burmese people by the military juntas.
Burma’s generals inch towards reforms
A legal right to protest?