Three activists in Burma, including a leader from the influential 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, were prevented from appearing at a public event in Mandalay over the weekend, after dozens of Buddhist monks protested their inclusion on the roster of scheduled speakers.
The three activists had planned to give remarks at a literature discussion in Mandalay’s Mye Par quarter on Saturday, but about 40 monks approached organizers in advance of the event and demanded that the trio be removed from the list of speakers. The event was ultimately cancelled.
The activists—Mya Aye, who is a leader from the 88 Generation, Ko Ni, a High Court attorney, and Ma Thida, a well-known writer—told The Irrawaddy that the monks’ stated objection to the three speaking at the event was their Muslim affiliation. Two of the three activists are practicing Muslims.
Despite the monks’ ostensible reason for protesting, the activists said they suspected a “hidden political agenda” was behind the incident.