About 200 people have marched in Myanmar's biggest city to protest government plans to amend a statute governing public demoes to make it easier to charge participants with crimes and increase criminal penalties for violations.

The Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, enacted in 2010 under a military-backed civilian government, allows street protests if permission is procured beforehand, with failure to obtain permission punishable by up to six months' imprisonment.

The current civilian government led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi proposed last month that a clause be added saying that “anyone who instigates, persuades others intentionally or knowingly to contradict national security, the principles of the rule of law, tranquility and public morale” can be punished by up to three years in prison and a fine.

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