Freedom Memoirs – Day 25

The news we received throughout the day was very overwhelming and shocking. This afternoon, a large group of pro-coup protesters were seen in downtown Sule to show their support for the military. What strikes different from anti-coup protestors was that these people are thugs hired by the military and military-backed party Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). It is believed that they are paid around 5,000 MMK ($3.50) to join these marches, and some of them are believed to be plain-clothed members of the security forces. This group of military lackeys fired slingshots at peaceful anti-coup protestors and attacked them with sticks and knives. One man was stabbed from behind when protecting other peaceful protestors from being harmed. Luckily, he was saved. 

What disgusted the citizens was that these thugs were protected by the very policemen who sworn to protect us; the security force was seen guarding the group and even removing the barricades for them to carry on with their violent protest. A police car was even seen escorting them. Myanmar civilians did not resort to the violence, but they managed to capture these thugs by outnumbering them and put them in one place. Later, people found out from the notebooks that they are all provided daily wages to cause mayhem and violence. It is 2021, but the military seems to be playing the same warfare against the people from more than a decade-old playbook used in 1988– the same old junta-sponsored terrorism. 

Domestically, people have been trying their best to reject the military in various fronts using various methods. Ward and village administrators appointed by illegitimate state administrative council (SAC) are being pressured to quit and rejected by the people. There have been many successful examples in villages and wards where the military-appointed men were shooed away by noises of pots and pans, where the offices of the administrators are locked by all the houses from the wards, and where the people declared their own autonomies. However, this evening, the security forces fired at least 5 shots to break up the crowds that came to reject the ward administrator appointed in the Aung Mingalar ward of Tarmwe township in Yangon. Fortunately, no one was injured. Unnecessary forces are currently deployed in Tarmwe township as of writing this. It is reported that more than 15 people were already arrested from the same crowd. Neighborhood watch-groups are told to be more alert tonight to be safe and to protect our people. More people are advised to come out to guard the neighborhood.

On the other hand, the military’s desperate move to get international recognition seems not working though their efforts in using dirty tactics to crackdown the people domestically have only increased. The World Bank has announced that they suspended Myanmar military administrative council’s withdrawals and also seeking refund of funds from the projects that were under agreement with the democratic government. Also, it is reported that there is a potential suspension of development assistance from the Japanese government to Myanmar, a withdrawal of the Official Development Assistance (ODA), and to suspend development activities in Myanmar. While it proves that this is the international community’s approach to reject the military’s legitimacy, it also means that all the development aid needed for Myanmar’s progress and for the vulnerable population of the country is sadly suspended now. Mohinga Matters would like to take this opportunity to request for more targeted sanctions against the military and to continue to provide aid for the country’s vulnerables that are only to suffer more in post-pandemic Myanmar. 

From the ASEAN community, there was a tripartite meeting between Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar with illegally appointed Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin. Myanmar people were mad at Indonesia and Thailand’s decision to meet with Wanna Maung Lwin as it would state that the two countries recognize the junta. However, the press statement issued by the Indonesian FM Retno Marsudi currently suggests the opposite. Wanna Maung Lwin was not referred as the foreign minister of Myanmar, and it says Indonesia will stand with the people of Myanmar. It proves that all the Myanmar’s people efforts and commitment to protest outside of the Embassy of Indonesia in Yangon and Thailand as well as tweeting to Indonesian FM’s twitter account was all worth it. Although we know that it is up to the Myanmar people to win this battle by showing strong determination and courageous moves against the junta. We all need a little solidarity and support from international community to give pressure to the military, and to stop cooperating with them. To reject the legitimacy they are seeking. After all this ends, which side of the history do you want to be remembered to have sided with? With the courageous people of Myanmar fighting for justice or with the evil junta feeding on brutality and violence? 

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