Khon Ja of the Kachin Peace Network, a would-be participant in the conference, said dozens of police showed up at the gates of the festival grounds and locked down the venue.
“Police have shut the venue gates as well as the doors to the Majoi Hall, where the conference was set to take place around 8:30am. There are around 200 participants already inside the venue and they cannot get out. And participants outside the gate are unable to get in,” Khon Ja told DVB on Thursday morning, adding that the police had allowed in some key participants.
Khon Ja said nearly 600 people from across Burma had travelled to Myitkyina to join the Kachin National Conference, organised by Kachin CSOs to choose representatives to attend the upcoming national peace summit, dubbed the 21st Century Panglong Conference and organised by the National League for Democracy government.
The organisers previously were denied permission to use the venue by local authorities.
“The officials told the organisers they would not authorise hosting the event at the venue but they didn’t necessarily say the event itself is not permitted. I travelled here from Rangoon along with 50 other participants and we are unable to get in,” Khon Ja said.
She later posted an update on her Facebook page, indicating that those gathered for the conference would be permitted to enter the hall at 3pm on Thursday.
This article originally appeared on DVB on February 16, 2017.