Burmese hip hop artist-turned-legislator Phyo Zayar Thaw was arrested by Myanmar junta last Thursday (November 18), during a raid in the Yadanar Hninsi Housing complex, the former capital of Yangon, according to local independent news service, Myanmar Now.
The report said that Zayar Thaw was taken into custody by “around 100 soldiers,” which has been confirmed by an unnamed guerilla member and ousted lawmaker from the former MP’s party, National League for Democracy (NLD).
#MYANMAR: A well-known young politician Zayar Thaw (a former hip hop musician who was once jailed for his anti-junta music during the previous regime), was arrested today in Yangon – according to several sources. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmarpic.twitter.com/DeWieFQEpF
— Cape Diamond (@cape_diamond) November 18, 2021
As of writing, no statement from the junta has been released yet about the arrest, although Myanmar Now noted that Zayar Thaw “has been frequently named by the junta as a mastermind of recent attacks on regime targets in Yangon, along with Lwin Ko Latt, the home affairs minister of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG).”
The news service also reported that the state media “announced the arrest of 39 individuals in Yangon suspected of belonging to the NUG-backed People’s Defence Force, as well as eight others accused of supporting their ‘terrorist acts’” and that Zayar Thaw has been “arrested with weapons and ammunition.”
#Myanmar army continues stepping up narrative of ex-politician Zayar Thaw’s arrest
– Earlier, army said more terrorists, arms seized after his confession
— Leong Wai Kit (@LeongWaiKitCNA) November 23, 2021
In an email to HipHopDX Asia, local hip hop group Rap Against Junta said that the images are “too tragic to see.”
Rap Against Junta also took to Instagram to call for the release of Zayar Thaw, and shared that the former hip hop artist told them once that he wishes to retire from politics and return to a “normal hip hop-loving lifestyle” as a civilian.
They also thanked the artist, who first gained prominence as a member of the pioneering Myanmar hip hop group ACID, and for his work as a pro-democracy activist. “You’ve been representing the power of the people and been helping the young generations for a better future. We salute your bravery, support, and your works,” the group wrote.
Watch ACID perform their song “Sa Tin Chin” (Beginning) below:
This is a developing story.