Freedom Memoirs – Day 37

We reported in our entry yesterday that as many as 300 protesters were trapped in the houses in Sanchaung with security tightened. Barricaded the entire township, the terrorist army planned to arrest protesters in hiding with the recently amended law which required homeowners to report overnight guests. Sanchaung residents tried any possible means to find ways to send the protesters back home. People from various townships also went out in the streets against 8 pm curfew hoping to reduce the concentrated source in Sanchaung. Despite their effort, we saw worrisome video clips of police and soldiers firing gunshots while power was cut off in entire neighbourhood, soldiers cursing rude words in the streets and daring unarmed civilians to come out. At least 20 people were arrested in Sanchaung and remaining protesters in hiding were finally able to go home around 5 am. Some of the detainees got released this evening but we don’t know how many were left inside and those who came home had bruises on their bodies as results of terrorists’ cruelty according to many sources. 

While the violent late night raids were being carried out in Sanchaung, the terrorist army also tried to arrest the NLD parliamentarians and MP-elects in Yankin Township as well. Luckily, the MPs were already in hiding. In Lanmadaw township, residents found a car driven by plain-clothed soldiers loaded with weapons inside. Both weapons and people were held for a while by a large group of civilians before they were let go. Most likely as a revenge, terrorist army later came and raided the streets in Lanmadaw Township and arrested about 30 men for no apparent reason. Many fear those people were taken as porters to serve in the army like back in the days. To say last night was a terrible night would be an understatement.

Although the coup leader repeatedly said “democratic values”, the coup government has threatened the freedom of press by revoking publishing licenses of five independent news outlets last night. Online based Myanmar Now and Khit Thit media, TV channels Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and Mizzima, and daily paper 7 Day News are now banned to publish. Myanmar Now’s office was also raided with force yesterday and we hear initial reports about raids of Mizzima Media and Kamayut Media offices with two journalists taken this afternoon. Despite all that, Myanmar Now, Mizzima, DVB and Khit Thit media are still operating online and airing on respective satellite. Kudos to all the media still going strong.

In Mandalay, more than 80 students who were arrested on March 7 are now charged with Penal Code 505b, a crime to cause, or intend to cause, members of the government to be disobedient or disloyal. At the beginning of the coup when protesting students were arrested, they were released on the same day or the day after. But now the junta has changed its strategy, and tried to imprison young protesters. On March 3, more than 400 students in Yangon were arrested, and are still in detention having no contact with their families. Is the junta planning to build legal cases against hundreds of students? That’s a lot of work for some guys who promised one-year state of emergency. 

U Zaw Myat Lynn, NLD member and Suu Vocational Institute (Shwepyitha), was arrested from his home last night, and this morning, his family was contacted to collect the dead body. We can only imagine how his family would take it in. One’s father, brother or husband left home at night, and he ceased to exist in this world the next day… Serious interrogations must have been conducted for a man to pass away overnight. We must document all the lawless atrocity that the coup leaders and thugs are committing. 

Today, protests were happening all over the country, and so are the crackdowns but not as violent as the other days. We must be careful on days like this because the armed thugs no longer shoot people in broad daylight, but beat them to death at night. 

P.S. After imposing Internet shutdown every night for more than three weeks, the junta decided to reduce the shutdown hours from 1 am to 6.30 am. Without having 24 access to the Internet, our digital rights are still violated by the junta.

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