Federal Police needs to apologize
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2001 4:15 PM
May 10, 2001
Attention: Chief of Staff
Foreign Affairs Reporter
Federal Police attack Burmese protest in Canberra, linked to Burma visit
Federal Police last Friday, May 4, attacked a peaceful protest by 80 Burmese
people and supporters outside the Burmese Military Embassy in Yarralumla, on
the pretext that the burning of the flag of the military dictatorship was a
threat to order.
At the same time, the AFP Director General, Michael Keelty and a police
delegation were in Rangoon (Yangon), where they visited the Criminal
Investigation Department and attended the opening of an Australian Police
Force Public Relations Office at the Australian Embassy. Keelty’s group flew
home on May 5.
“The AFP became more aggressive to our protest to facilitate their
cooperation with the Burmese police and military regime,” said Maung Maung
Than of the Free Burma Action Committee, who was among those kicked and
beaten by the police in Canberra.
“We call for a parliamentary inquiry into the attack by the AFP against our
protest on May 4, and for a parliamentary review of the AFP program in
Burma,” said Maung Maung Than. “We appreciate the support of Wayne Barry,
Labor Leader in the ACT Legislative Assembly, and Jeremy Pyner of the ACT
Trades & Labor Council for an inquiry, and a formal police apology to the
“The Australian government is making the same mistake in Burma that it made
in Indonesia and East Timor, by placing trust in a brutal military
dictatorship,” said Maung Maung Than. “Instead of cooperating with and
legitimising these generals who have imposed forced labour on two million
Burmese people, the Australian government should join the global movement to
fully isolate and discredit the military dictatorship in Burma."
For further comment:
Ko Maung Maung Than - Central Coordinator, Free Burma Action Committee
Phone / Fax: +61-2-96435646; mobile 0411337816