Freedom Memoirs – Day 84

As soon as ASEAN Summit ended with a consensus on 5 points last night, Dr Sasa issued a statement that National Unity Government (NUG) welcomed the initiative by calling it “encouraging news” and urged the neighboring leaders to follow up on the decision. Netizens found Dr Sasa’s statement a little too optimistic as we all know ASEAN was just trying to restore ‘peace’ in Myanmar by stalling any potential warfare that may or may not come. But then Dr Sasa and NUG may also be well aware of it and possibly the statement is only issued so they can hold ASEAN accountable if violence does not stop and call for “Responsibility to Protect – R2P” on that ground.

Just when the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing said he found the suggestion of ending violence in the country ‘helpful’ during the Summit, a civilian in Mandalay named Kaung Htet Naing, only aged 22, was shot dead by junta’s forces. According the news online, he was simply trying to remove barricades on the streets and not even protesting when he was shot, the dead body was also taken by the terrorist soldiers so his family had to arrange a funeral service without it. We wonder if that incident alone was ‘helpful’ for ASEAN leaders to understand that the coup leader did not give a damn about their suggestions.

Sound of beating pots and pans across the country has also been toned down by constant oppression. We have heard many cases where homes were invaded and destroyed just because people inside were banging pots and pans. Last night, we saw photo evidences on which terrorist soldiers raided many houses in Thamine, Mayangone township and arrested people who were beating pots and pans. They put men on a truck and made them kneel while they made two girls dance to the sound of pots and pans. It’s just one example of many humiliating and bullying tactics junta’s forces have been conducting towards innocent civilians. Consequently, people in many areas are now hesitant to follow 8pm ritual, we don’t blame them.

That said, protests still took place strongly countrywide today. Young protesters in Hlaing township of Yangon showed their disappointment towards ASEAN summit by writing their messages on papers such as “Restore Democracy right now”. The town of Paung from Mon State held flower strike as posters with messages such as “No need of sex maniac military”, a reference to sexual abuse cases in interrogation centers, beside colorful flowers. There was a monks’ rally in Mandalay, hundreds of Buddhist monks took to the streets to show their support towards NUG. Posters were put up North Dagon township that read “Do not go to schools” and “Do not pay electricity bills” since junta has been accelerating its efforts to reopen schools and collect electricity bills. People in Kyaukme and Hsipaw from Shan State, Hpakant from Kachin, Yesakyo from Magwe, Meiktila, Kyaukse, Thazi and Mawlamyine staged motorbike strikes respectively. Many regions followed suit in their own styles but the messages are pretty much the same such as “We support NUG”, “No military Coup”, “We need R2P”.

We heard crackdown took place during a protest in Kyaukse although we cannot confirm the exact number now. Terrorist soldiers also abducted five members of Student Union in Myeik last night and their families were not informed of their whereabouts. A writer named Ma Tu Tu Thar was also arrested in Thanlyin and taken to Shwepyitha interrogation center this afternoon along with her son, her brother and another civilian.

Just as protests and junta’s oppression continued, so did explosions. Today around 10am, a bomb blasted in East Dagon and damaged a nearby vehicle which was carrying a family of three. Another explosion took place around 2pm near administrative office in Insein with no casualties. And we heard a terrorist solider was injured during two consecutive bomb attacks inside a Myanma Economic Bank in Thingangyun township in the evening. And people in Pyay also said they heard two explosive sounds near the entrance of Pyay University. Explosion news has come in increasingly since the second week of April and although we do not know the culprits or the objectives, such incidents remind us that we are in the midst of a revolution, which some of us may have forgotten already.

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