Freedom Memoirs – Day 45

We woke up to the news of terrorist army setting fire to a residential area in Hlaing Tharyar Township, resulting in damage of three houses including a house of well-known painter Win Pe Myint. Although the painter and his family are safe, almost half of his art pieces were destroyed. The incident reminds us of the past not long ago: no art, no culture, just fear.

Yesterday in Hlaing Tharyar, a Chinese factory owner called factory workers to collect salaries and workers did come. When arguments were made over wages, the factory owner called military troops. At least 6 people were killed and more than 70 were arrested according to Myanmar Now. Today, we saw short text updates from Hlaing Tharyar about shooting, arresting and deaths but photos were not able to shared due to mobile internet blackout.

The sudden escalation of death toll and internet shutdown have made it difficult to collect data and verify casualties. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reports that 202 people have been killed as of March 16. News outlets such as RFA Burmese and Irrawaddy also reported about 200 deaths. We will try our best to get the number in our monthly newsletter. 

Nefarious actives of terrorist army do not seem to scare Myanmar people. Everyday we see protests are still going strong nationwide. In Yangon, protesters are on the streets of at least 15 townships. Protests in different parts of the country were seen: Kutkai in Shan State, Moenyin in Kachin State, Kalay in Chin State, Mandalay, Pathein in Ayeywarwaddy, Mawlamyine in Mon State and many more. As of writhing this, 1 protester in Yangon and 1 protester in Kalay have been killed.

Everyone in the country feel unsafe day and night as even those who weren’t in the protests have been detained and shot for no apparent reason. Eleven young workers from a teashop in Hlaing township were arrested this afternoon without a cause. In Hledan and Yankin of Yangon, terrorist soldiers stopped civilians on the roads and forced them as free labours to remove makeshift barricades put up by the residents. Later in the day, Myanmar Now reports that in several townships in Yangon and Mandalay, armed thugs threatened residents to remove barricades or “they will shoot everyone no matter who put up”.

With the termination of last printing private newspaper, the Standard Times, today, all private newspapers in Myanmar stopped publication within 45 days of the coup. It was only in 2013 when private daily papers were allowed for publication as a part of Thein Sein administration’s democratic reform. Today, the coup has put an end to 8 years of daily newspapers. We are left with online news since remaining news outlets such as Myanmar Now, DVB, the Voice are still actively operating on their online platforms, mainly Facebook and website. However, the mobile internet blackout has delayed news reporting and limited the access to information for a large number of people who rely on the mobile internet on a daily basis. 

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) abolished all ethnic armed organization from the list of terrorist ograniatiosn or unlawful associations. The announcement recognised the efforts of EAOs protecting civilians and CDM staffers in some areas. The news was welcomed by many who call for the rebuilding of a federal state. On the other hand, CRPH-appointed Interim Vice President Mahn Win Khaing Than was charged with high treason by the coup leaders. 

Remember we reported about more than 300 students who were detained on March 3? Volunteering lawyers, who usually station in front of Insein prison, said that  all of them are now charged with  sedition, Penal Code 505A. The first court hearing will be held with videoconferencing on March 25. Charging more than 300 young students with criminal law, the junta must be desperate.

It’s been 45 days since the illegal. Rage and grief only ignite the little spark of hope in us. It will burn bright, and we will win this fight. 

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