Mingalar market shop owners protest over being left in the dark

Pyae Phyo Aung

Disgruntled owners of the burnt-down Mingalar Market staged a protest on Monday morning.

The participants rallied in front of the City Hall near Maha Bandoola Park, holding up placards and chanting their demands.

They had four main agendas –for the burnt-down Mingalar Market to be rebuilt as quickly as possible and their rightful places returned to them, the demand that the new building be not a high-rise one as well as for the authorities to hold a discussion with the shop owners.

“It has been one year since the Mingalar Market burned but the Yangon Region Government have yet to even hold a meet to console us. We still have no idea how the new market is going to be like and things are getting very tight for us so we decided to protest,” said market owner Aung Kyaw Soe.

“We have four main agendas and one of them might be misconstrued as we are against high-rise rise buildings just so, but we’re actually against it because of the time it would take. Again, we still have no idea of the time frame. The next thing is that we are placed in temporary places while they rebuild but the rent is overpriced while it’s only half as convenient. We are protesting for the Yangon Region Government to let us know what is happening and that we desperately need to know the plan going forward.”

The market, currently only in the process of being demolished, suffered from a huge fire supposedly caused by human error in January last year that ripped through a total of 1636 shops, causing huge amount of losses for shop owners.

Since then, there has been constant criticism over the slow progress.

Another protester, Nyo Nyo Oo, said: “Today marks the first anniversary of the fire. Shop owners are still reeling from the damages. We are here today to protest to let the nation’s leaders know what we are going through.

“The ex-president Thein Sein came to us, talked to us and even provided monetary support and subsidised loans for us. We hope for more from the new government led by “mother” that we wholeheartedly voted for. We want the rebuilding to finish quickly so that we can get our places back.

“Some of us have been dealing in the market for 40 to 50 years and also have been paying our taxes. We are here to let our troubles be known because no one, from the mayor to any minister, have come to us to assure us with transparency on what is going on.”

Translated by Kywe Wa Dana Tun