Our days since the coup on February 1 are just days of anxiety, devastation and panic. Rumors keep flying around panicking us even more, the talk of violent reaction from the military to the peaceful protesters keeps us awake at night and more alert in the day. Yet, all of this hasn’t stopped us.
Yesterday, the dictator Min Aung Hlaing who staged an illegal coup dared to show us his face on the state TV channel at the exact time of our protest, banging pots and pans. Our response? We beat the loudest and hardest looking at his face. It was truly satisfying.
Military also officially issued martial law from 8pm to 4pm and to avoid gathering of more than 5 people. And our response? We don’t recognize the law as this military government is illegitimate and their coup illegal. In the early morning today, however, police blocked the bridges that connect outskirts of Yangon to prevent people gathering in the town. But when people responded in unity to opened the bridges, they did anyway.
Protests continue across the country for the fourth day despite the law preventing gathering of more than five. We know there will be a reaction from the military soon as history warns us. We are desperately praying and doing everything we can to have more civil servants joined our Civil Disobedience Movement so that there will be no blood shed and executing the evil root out of the system.
During a nationwide protest, we saw a glimpse of hope when there were a few police individuals taking side with the people in towns of Myeik and Magwe, and even Naypyidaw. But the hope that more police will join our fight quickly vanished as they started using force. More violence soon took place in the second largest city, Mandalay, and the capital city, Naypyidaw, even more than yesterday. Police used tear gas in Mandalay, and fired water cannon and rubber bullets in Naypyidaw to break up the rallies. But the protesters in Naypyidaw claimed the police fired real bullets to the crowds injuring many civilians. Three of them who were shot are now in critical condition. One teenage girl was previously claimed dead as she was shot in the head, but confirmed to be in critical condition. (Latest news we receive is that she now is brain dead… but doesn’t it mean she’s technically dead?)
With the violence in those cities, there were talks of violence in Yangon on FB that the military will shoot the largest protest rallies in Hledan and Sule. We already saw that water cannons were deployed aiming at the protesters in Hledan. But our response? The protestors quickly wore raincoats and covered themselves in the large plastic wraps. Very fortunately, the police didn’t use the water cannons today in Yangon, but in Naypyidaw and Mandalay, the water cannons, and rubber bullets although the protesters used large umbrellas to cover them didn’t help much.
Since the military has not only given us warnings but has used actual violence, we need to be more alert. We need to learn different tactics from other pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong and Thailand. We need to come up with more strategies to stay safe and to win the evilness without shedding any of our civilians’ blood. History of coup sadly repeats, but we won’t let our defeat repeat. Truth and justice will prevail!