Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Resistance to the junta is growing in Burma


The army is now threatening to shoot protesters, who again took to the streets on Monday, three weeks after the putsch.

Correspondent in Asia

Scent of climbing, in Burma, three weeks after the coup. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of major cities on Monday, defying warnings from the military, to demand respect for the elections and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. “We do not accept the military coup”, proclaim the signs brandished in the streets of Yangon or Mandalay, under the threat of the police, who have opened fire in recent days, already killing three people.

In the colorful crowd, many young people, employees, civil servants, traders who have closed their stalls, to respond en masse to the call for a general strike launched by a movement of civil disobedience which swells, despite the deaths. In this country fascinated by the symbolism of numbers, the leaders wanted to make this meeting of the five “2” (02/22/2021) a demonstration of the movement’s strength, in response to the threats of a use of force of Tatmadaw (the armed forces).

Through the “kingdom of a thousand pagodas», From large towns to the countryside, even at the foot of the ancestral ruins of Bagan, processions defy the warnings of Tatmadaw, who has imposed a state of emergency since 1is February, and threatens to suppress resistance with arms. “The protesters are urging people, especially exalted adolescents and young people, to embark on the path of confrontation, where they will perish », the authorities warned on Sunday evening in a statement read on the public channel MRTV. More than 600 people have been arrested since the putsch, according to the Association for Aid to Political Prisoners. In vain.

I call on the Burmese army to immediately stop the repression

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

Hours earlier, the funeral of the first victim of the clashes, on the outskirts of the capital Naypyidaw, further galvanized resistance, bringing together thousands. Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, a young supermarket worker, shot in the head and died after ten days in intensive care, became the first martyr of the crisis. Two other protesters also perished on Saturday, in Mandalay and Yangon, feeding the specter of a bloodbath. “We are fighting because we fear that the army will unleash a repression like in 1988”, explains Min Tun (first name changed), a 39-year-old activist in Yangon. At the time, the ruling junta opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators, killing several thousand people. Three decades later, crowds demand respect for the November 8 elections, which offered a new electoral triumph for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), arrested on 1is February.

Faced with the escalation, the international community is raising its voice, urging General Min Aung Hlaing to back down from the precipice. “Today, I call on the Burmese army to immediately stop the repression”said Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, calling for the release of political prisoners. In Brussels, EU foreign ministers discussed possible sanctions against Burma on Monday, following in the footsteps of the United States. In response, the army denounced “Flagrant interference” and swore that she had shown “detention»Since taking power that it justifies by “Huge electoral fraud”. In Asia, ASEAN, of which Burma is part, is active behind the scenes to find a way out of the diplomatic crisis, under the leadership of Indonesia, in charge of the rotating presidency. The Southeast Asian bloc is trying to reach an agreement, despite its internal divisions, on a plan including the holding of transparent elections, and a possible summit with the Burmese leaders. China, singled out by many demonstrators, calls for “Appeasement”, recognizing the “Reasonable aspirations” movement, but without condemning the “Rebellion”.



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