Bloodiest day since the coup. Protests were staged, forcibly and, at times, violently cracked down and re-staged across the nation. After one month, military thugs finally cracked, and revealing its true color of liberally using weapons of war on the people. Before, the junta’s forces have been holding back compared to their violent and insane track record, perhaps because they want to project positive international image (you wish!) or perhaps because they thought people will not be this determined. However, as of yet, they are increasingly finding none of these are happening. They got no recognition internationally, and the statement by U Kyaw Moe Tun at UN General Assembly informal briefing had hurt their fragile egos, and the people are still defiant. The junta’s ego and practical reasons demand that the protests and CDM be stopped. The stage is set for our vile and puny dictator’s next move.
For the people, we are more determined than ever. We have already noticed ever-increasing violent crackdowns and harassments in our neighbourhoods. Today is also the day we have decided to protest as part of the Milk Tea Alliance, an online an online democratic solidarity movement across Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Myanmar. So today morning, knowingly of what awaits us, we stepped out of our homes.
The junta’s thugs responded violently. Many protest groups got raided and arrested since early morning. When the internet lines are restored at 9am, news of these arrests dominate social media newsfeed, still people are undeterred. Today, in many places across the nation, junta’s lackey violently cracked down the protestors and entire neighbourhoods were turned into war-zones. The people’s discipline, and dedication were admirable. Many brave women and men defend their peers from polices’/soldier’ attacks, smoke bombs were deactivated or threw back, barricades were set up and most harassments were repeatedly neutralized. When live bullets come flying or massive arrests are at hand, people scattered and hide at nearby homes and businesses that opened their doors deliberately in order to shelter the protestors. Hundreds of protestors across the country owe today’s meals and safety to complete strangers. While this had happened in days before, the sheer number of such incidents today deserves a special commendation.
However, it’s not that everyone escaped unscathed. Since shooting and injuries began in Yangon, brave doctors (who are already in CDM and no longer showing up to work) of Yangon General Hospital set up an emergency ward to tend to injuries. Medical professionals across the country also dedicated to save lives, and these efforts performed remarkable feats. Unfortunately, many were still brutally murdered by the dictator’s thugs. According to the UN Human Rights Office, at least 18 protesters killed today but many netizens corrected that it was 26 nationwide. Each death a tragedy with lives untimely cut short by cowards who are no match for their bravery, integrity or dedication towards the country’s future. Reportedly, one is a young IT professional whose final Facebook status was “How many dead bodies does the UN need to take action?”. Despite knowing the UN will never involve in the way he would have meant, militarily, our hearts just could not take it.
Today, we affirm what we witnessed since the coup begin, the power of the people. When protestors are starving, when smoke bombs are dropped and police charged at the people, when bullets come flying at the people, no questions were asked before allowing assistance or refuge. There were no concerns about what race, religion, gender, socio-economic status or education level a person has before help was offered. In the midst of the biggest struggle we are facing in their lifetime, people are overcoming what has weakened us for a long time, discrimination, intolerance and division. We have never been this strong. And this strength will be enough to topple military dictatorship.
We will persevere this hardship and build a new country free of dictatorship or discrimination.