Freedom Memoirs – Day 98

Despite the continuous calls to end violence from the international community, the regime continues to assault anti-coup protesters and civilians. Today in Myinmu township of Sagaing Region, an anti-coup protester was shot in the head with rubber bullet by Light Infantry Division 33, and died. Two protesters were also abducted. Similarly in Mandalay, Sai La Win, a disabled person who joined Myataung marching strike almost every day, was arrested after the protest today. A young man from Yangon’s Insein township dawn protest was also arrested. These days when cracking down on peaceful protests, terrorist soldiers and policemen use private cars and motorbikes to disguise themselves. In Yangon, junta’s forces raided the Star City housing in Thanlyin township. One person fell from the building and died instantly, and about 20 people were arrested according to the residents. 

Last night around 9pm, Monywa based poet Khet Thi was arrested by junta’s soldiers last night in Shwebo township. While his wife Ma Chaw Su was detained in Shwebo police station, the 44-year-old poet was taken to an interrogation center. This morning, Khet Thi’s wife was released and instructed to collect the dead body of the poet. The poet died in less than 24 hours of detention inside the interrogation center. We have heard so many stories of brutal tortures and we can only imagine how cruel these tortures that made a person died overnight. Khet Thi was known in this revolution for his poem which reads, “They shot in the head. But they don’t know the revolution is in the hearts”. Another poet of Monywa has fallen in this revolution, and we will remember him.

Explosions news are also reported every day. In Mon State, Ye Township, an explosion blasted near the house of NLD upper house MP U Myo Win at 2am this morning. The parliamentarian was already in hiding, and no injury or death was reported. In Pwint Phyu township, Magway Region, a bomb was blasted at the house of Kone Zaung village administrator’s sister. The woman was known for being an informant. Last night, two explosions were also blasted at administration offices in Pwint Phyu township and about 10 civilians were arrested as suspects. In Myingyan, four explosions took place in front of CB Bank, Yoma Bank, Road Transportation Administration Department and MyTel office. Although no injury was reported from today’s incidents in Myingyan, a woman was injured from last night’s explosion near a police department. 

To restore the stability, the junta has been trying to strengthen its General Administration Department. However, junta-appointed administrators always encounter attacks and assaults. This morning around 3am, a group of five men shot and killed the newly appointed village administrator of Si Bine village-tract in Yay Tar Shay township, Bago Region. Young men in the village are now in hiding, worrying for getting arrested as suspects. 

As of today, more than 10,000 staff members from universities across the country were dismissed from their positions for joining civil disobedience movement (CDM). Good news is that Deputy Minister for Education Ja Htoi Pan of the National Unity Government (NUG) announced that interim education program is currently developed in progress for basic and high education students. The deputy minister said that guidelines for homeschooling will be announced. 

In addition to daily terrors of being abducted, being shot to death and subject to junta’s oppression in so many forms, the general public now fears of bank-run and losing their money in the process. Initially, it started out as a strategy to strengthen CDM, the continuous withdrawals scared banks and their customers. Consequently, banks have reduced maximum cash withdrawal limits- KBZ bank has limited 200,000 kyats (about 125$) as maximum withdrawal per week. Now, an ocean of people in front of ATMs has become a common sight and a daily fees between 10,000 to 15,000 kyats is charged if you need someone to stand in the line and receive a token for bank service or take out money on behalf of you. 

We are not sure if junta is proud of having created such new job opportunities but the majority of people are experiencing a hard time with limited access to cash. When ATMs are no longer a viable option, people have turned to agents who exchange cash with digital money and charge at least 5% as service fees. Vendors also ask extra 5% fees if they must accept a virtual payment. Everything that has been implemented past two years to promote digital payment solutions has gone backwards now. People have started to lose trust in the banks which run on junta’s commands so they continue to cut the losses in order to keep their cash in hand, rather than collecting uncertain interests.

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