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Myanmar arrests opposition activists ahead of constitutional referendum

[JURIST] Myanmar's military government has arrested more than 20 peaceful demonstrators protesting the scheduled May 10 national constitutional referendum [JURIST report], the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) said Tuesday. The NLD also said that government security forces have detained a close aide of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive].

Opposition groups have urged citizens to reject [JURIST report] the proposed constitution put forth by the military government, which has been described as a "sham" intended to legalize military rule. The draft constitution reserves 25 percent of the parliamentary seats for the military [JURIST report] and would also block Aung San Suu Kyi from seeking office. The military junta has also rejected calls for international observers. Earlier this week, UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro criticized the timing of the referendum, saying it was "surreal" to hold a referendum while the military government continues to persecute critics of the proposed charter. AP has more.

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