Junta Ally – Ultra Nationalist Wirathu visits Hpa-An Karen state

The visit of U Wirathu of Patriotic Association of Myanmar (Ma Ba Tha), a prominent supporter of the junta, to Me Baung Monastery in Ward No. 3 in the city, Hpa-An prompted military troops to close busy areas of the city.on the morning of January 17th, Hpa-An locals said.

A Hpa-An resident told KIC, “We heard that there was a meeting at Me Baung Monastery. The downtown area was full of security because of the arrival of Ma Ba Tha monk Wirathu, a hardcore supporter of the Military Council. Around 6:00 am. they shut down many busy areas of the city, including the clock tower and some intersections. Vehicles going to Myawaddy were forced to choose other routes. We heard that he came to the Me Baung Monastery in Ward No. 3, west of the clock tower.”

Some people from villages on the outskirts of Hpa-An came by cars, and held a rally in support of U Wirathu’s arrival, holding signs condemning the United States, locals said.

“They come from villages outside the city. Many wore yellow shirts with the letters “Ma Ba Tha Karen” written on the back.They held a support rally. We saw them coming from the side of Me Baung Monastery. We think that since Hpa-An is calm, he (U Wirathu) must be looking for trouble by inciting unrests”, a resident of Hpa-An told KIC.

In addition, during his stay in Hpa-An, U Wirathu toured the businesses and parks jointly built by the Military Council and the Border Guard Forces (BGF).

In Karen State, there are some monks and locals who support Ma Ba Tha. In the past some residents have protested in support of the military by wearing uniform shirts with letters ‘Ma Ba Tha Karen’. But a great many people voiced criticism and opposition to U Wirathu’s controversial visit.

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