Myanmar veteran rapper Byu Har has been arrested for “inciting with the aim of disrupting the peace and stability of the nation, and the act of spreading propaganda,” according to a statement provided by the military’s information team, following his criticisms of the junta over nationwide power outages in the last few months.
The arrest is the latest in Myanmar’s efforts to crackdown on dissent. Back in March, junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing vowed to take “’decisive action’ against opponents and ethnic rebels supporting them,” according to The Strait Times.
The Yangon-based rapper posted a video on Facebook on Tuesday, reportedly calling the electricity minister a “fool” and “incompetent,” and said that during former leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, “we had 24 hours of electricity, not only that, the electricity bill was [going] down.”
According to a 2022 The Strait Times news article, Myanmar “typically suffers more frequent electricity outages in summer due to lower supplies from hydro-power plants,” with the electricity minister “blam[ing] outages on higher gas prices as well as damaged power lines.”
The BBC reported that Byu Har used “incendiary language to refer to the junta’s leaders.” The Facebook video also included the rapper’s home address in the caption, where he “invited [them] to arrest him if they took issue” with his post.
He was last known to be detained in Yangon’s North Dagon Township by police on Wednesday according to the BBC. As of press time, no current updates have been made available to the public.
Byu Har is the son of prominent composer Naing Myanmar, whose song “Kabar Ma Kyay Buu” has been widely sung at protests against the military’s February 2021 coup.