Protests are ongoing across Myanmar. Protests of various strengths are observed today in Dawei, Mandalay, Yay Oo, Mogok, HpaKant, Sagaing, Bagan, Monywa, Kanma and Yangon. While the protests are generally aimed against coup, military dictatorship and oppression, many today have a specific theme, against forceful re-opening of schools. The junta, in his latest attempt to show the country is running perfectly, has decreed all public schools will be reopened and his propaganda machines have been working hard to besmirch protestors of neglecting precious education for the youth, despite military institution being the root-cause of the country’s poor state of education. The junta even takes credit to progress in education since democratization begin as his benevolence and achievement, while repeatedly slandering NLD-administration of installing unpatriotic, liberal education, in his justification of his rule. Of course, the students, the parents and the teachers do not believe that and people marches to the streets and refuses to enroll. Today’s many strikes, in person and online, features heavily against the junta’s latest charade.
Meanwhile, the junta is dismissing CDM staffs en-masse, leaked letters reported in local media shows 168 staffs from Ministry of Electricity and Energy and tens of Department of Higher Education staffs dismissed.
Protests are no longer the only thing these days. Clashes between ethnic armed organisations (EAOs), Civil Defense Forces and junta forces have become everyday affairs. Today’s high profile clashes between Civil Defense Forces and junta’s forces are in Hakha, Chin State and Htilin, Magwe Region. Hakha’s Chinland Defense Force has been clashing with junta’s forces for past few days and four soldiers fall today. This is sparked by junta’s refusal to release 60 local peaceful protestors, and while not yet as intense as Mindat, another town in Chin State, this shows that citizens with access to weaponries are no longer being slaughtered by Tatmataw. Another clash today in Htilin, Magwe Region sees two villagers’ and four soldiers’ death.
Between EAOs and Tatmataw, KIA assaulted Mansi Township Police Station in Kachin State last night and took down the township police chief. Another clashes between the two in Hpakant saw seven deaths from junta’s forces. Intense fighting was reported in Shan State between Northern Alliance (KIA, TNLA, MNDAA) and junta’s forces this evening.
In areas where no open clashes are observed, explosions have become more common. Today explosions were reported in Mawlamyaing, Mon State and Myaing, Magwe Region.
Another less fiery, but equally explosive affair is the state of economy. The UN recently reported that due to instability stemming from the coup, close to 50% of Myanmar population could end up poor in 2022, in their latest report. The junta’s central bank has issued one directive after another instead of making sound evidence-based policies, and consequently the queues at ATMs is getting longer and longer. The junta, craving for all international recognition, intentional or otherwise, Governor of Central Bank of Myanmar and Minister of Finance attended ASEAN+3 meetings, and all that was reported by their propaganda machine is we joined the meeting as a sign of international recognition.
With non-function economy and public services, none would be fooled into believing the junta is keeping everything under control. However, perhaps they themselves are thinking as an improvement. Perhaps that’s the reason behind today’s announcement of curfew time in Yangon being changed to 10pm to 4am instead of 8pm to 4am.