Tuesday, February 23, 2021

10 Ethnic Armed Groups Unite to Reject Myanmar Military Dictatorship


TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Ten ethnic Myanmar armed groups that signed the National Armistice Agreement (NCA) on Saturday announced they would no longer negotiate with the Myanmar military junta government and would support efforts to overthrow it.

“We support the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and public protests against the military coup and military dictatorship, and we will find ways to support these movements and protests,” said a joint statement, reported Myanmar Now, February 21, 2021.

They also condemned the crackdown on peaceful protesters and demanded the unconditional release of those held since Myanmar’s February 1 coup.

“The future seems more difficult. We have to stand together with the rest of society,” Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk, chairman of the Shan State Restoration Council, told an online meeting between armed groups today.

The armed groups, which also include the Karen National Unity and the Chin National Front, will work with the international community and activist groups at home and abroad to help end the dictatorship, the statement said.

The announcement follows a two-day discussion between 10 groups. Eight of them signed the NCA under Thein Sein administration and the other two signed under the Aung San Suu Kyi administration.

Demonstrators protest against military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 21, 2021. [REUTERS / Stringer]

On Sunday a large crowd returned to protest after two protesters were killed by police gunfire the day before in Mandalay.

Tens of thousands of people gathered peacefully in the second city of Mandalay, where Saturday’s killings took place, witnesses said, Reuters reported.

“They are targeting the heads of unarmed civilians. They are aiming for our future,” a young protester told the crowd.

Video clips on social media show members of the security forces shooting at protesters and witnesses say they found live ammunition casings.

UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews said he was concerned about the death of demonstrators in Mandalay, one of whom was a teenage boy.

Also read: Police arrest actor after killing two Myanmar coup protesters

Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun has not yet commented on the shooting.

He said at a press conference on Tuesday that the army’s actions were within the constitution and supported by most people, and he blamed protesters for inciting violence.

Earlier, a young female protester, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, became the first among the demonstrators on Friday. He was shot in the head on February 9 in the capital Naypyitaw.

Hundreds of Myanmar people attended his funeral on Sunday.

Myanmar military media say the bullets that killed him did not come from the weapons used by the police and must have been fired by “external weapons”.

MYANMAR NOW | REUTERS





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