Myanmar activist arrested over Facebook post on military

YANGON (AFP) - A female Myanmar opposition activist has been arrested over a satirical Facebook post about the military, officials said on Wednesday (Oct 14), in the latest crackdown against free speech in the former junta-ruled country.

There have been growing concerns over the repression of civil liberties in the nation in recent months as it gears up for landmark general elections on Nov 8.

Chaw Sandi Tun, 25, was arrested in Yangon on Monday after questioning the similarity of the colour of the new uniform for army officers with that of a "longyi" (traditional skirt) worn by National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"They (the military) like wearing the same colour as the longyi worn by mother Suu," said the post beneath photographs showing army chief General Min Aung Hlaing and military officers dressed in a similar vivid green to Suu Kyi.

"If you love mother that much, why don't you wrap mother's longyi on your head?" it said.

A local Yangon police officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the arrest on Monday evening but could not provide any further details.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP the party was preparing to provide legal assistance to the activist whose family say is currently detained at a prison in the Irrawaddy delta, awaiting trial on Oct 27.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the charges being pursued against the woman.

Myanmar's quasi-civilian government, which replaced decades of outright junta rule in 2011, was widely praised for introducing a raft of political and economic reforms with most international sanctions dropped.

But in recent months it has been accused of returning to junta-era tactics by rights groups with widespread criticism of a violent police crackdown on student protesters earlier this year.

In February a freelance photojournalist was arrested for uploading a satirical post on Facebook mocking the military.

And last October another freelance journalist was shot dead by the army in a case raised by US President Barack Obama during his official visit to Myanmar.

Two soldiers were later acquitted of the murder in a country where the powerful military remains shielded from civilian oversight.