Demonstrations in support of and against the Burmese legislature's efforts to reform the country's constitution took place at the central Sule Pagoda in Yangon on Wednesday, July 17. Pro-democracy demonstrators and supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which holds a majority in the legislature, along with supporters of a nationalist movement led by Buddhist monks, which is critical of NLD, rallied in the city center to call either for reforms to the military-drafted constitution or for its preservation.
A heightened security presence and road closures are to be expected near any additional related demonstrations that may be organized in the coming weeks.
The Burmese parliament, led by State Counsellor & Foreign Affairs Minister Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party, formed parliamentary committees to explore amendments to change the military-authored constitution, which would reduce the military's grip on the legislature. Under the current charter, the military holds a quarter of seats in parliament and any changes to the constitution would require approval from over 75 percent of the body. Military officials indicated they would reject any attempts to alter the current constitution.
Individuals in Yangon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all political gatherings as a precaution, anticipate further possible protests and associated disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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