4 Dec 2011

Myanmar regime says it will allow demonstrations

8:48 am on 4 December 2011

The nominally civilian government in Myanmar, also known as Burma, is to allow public demonstrations for the first time - the latest in a series of reforms.

The BBC reports, however, that tough security laws used to repress protest in the past remain in effect.

State media in Myanmar say the president, Thein Sein, has signed a law allowing peaceful demonstrations for the first time, provided people seek approval at least five days in advance.

It is the latest reform undertaken by the government since the military junta formally handed over power earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the government has reached a ceasefire with a leading armed ethnic group, the Shan State Army South.

Peace talks with Myanmar's many armed ethnic groups have been a key demand by Western countries before they lift sanctions.