Freedom Memoirs – Day 103

Day 103 and it is the two-month-anniversary of Hlaingtharyar massacre that claimed at least 80 lives. It was the day where the gang of Hlaingtharyar township fiercely resisted against the armed group barely armed with sticks and knives. It was also the day a 17-year-old medical student, Maung Khant Nyar Hein, was shot dead near the police station. The video footage of his body dragged mercilessly by the terrorist police is still vivid in our memories. A young woman who came out to help him has been detained ever since.

Today as the sun peeked through, the people of Hlaingtharyar marched again on the streets where the massacre took place. Joining them was Shwepyitha Workers Union, led by youth, to commemorate the honor of fallen heroes and to defy the coup. Pre-dawn strikes and early morning protests were held in Pakokku, Dawei, Mohnyin, Myitkyina and several other places. Flash strike was held in other places of Yangon this morning, and it was reported that some of the protesters had been already charged with 505(A) by the military.Brutal crackdowns of the protests in Mandalay and Dawei led to many protestors being abducted. In Dawei, it was reported that over 30 protesters, who have been in hiding for over 24 hours, have not had any food or drinks since the military continues to search for them. They had previously abducted 4 civilians. Tomorrow, there will be a strike on “Turn the lights off” from 8:15pm to 8:30pm, plunging the entire country into darkness to show rejection of the coup.

We reported yesterday of the clashes between the defense forces of Talokmyo village, Myingyan district of Sagaing. Today, due to reinforcement of excessive forces in the villages, it is reported that all four villages with the population of more than ten thousand people including children, women and elderlies have fled their villages, leaving all their properties behind. These villages have become ghost towns reminding us of those ethnic areas which had experienced conflicts for ages. DVB News reports that hundreds of innocent civilians including women and children were used as human shields from May 11 to May 12 during the clashes. These clashes resulted in the death of a young student and arrest of six young people. People who are on the run said they urgently need medicines for injured people and food.

The SAC declared a Martial Law on Mindat yesterday to crackdown the Chin Defence Force (CDF) that had strongly resisted the junta’s forces claiming the lives of at least 15 soldiers. CDF and civilians from Mindat issued a statement that says “We reject the martial law and repudiate any form of ruling by the military,” and claimed the town as a self-administered zone. People from Mindat already sensed that the military will come back to Mindat at any time to take revenge for their defeat. It was true. More than 6 military reinforcement trucks loaded with soldiers have been sent to Mindat. And the use of heavy artillery has claimed the life of a CDF freedom fighter. Today, Khit Thit media reports that CDF managed to destroy and burn six military reinforcement trucks on the way to town, and secured the weapons supplies on the trucks. However, this news on CDF destroying the military trucks was taken down due to people criticizing the media’s responsibility to protect the CDF so that the military won’t send more soldiers to the area.

In Kachin State, locals reported that the military has been attacking Madayan village of Mansi Township and conducting airstrikes since early morning today since fighting intensified between the terrorist military and Kachin Independence Army (KIA). In Kayin State, fighting broke out between Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 5 and Myanmar military yesterday afternoon, resulting in nine deaths and six injured soldiers from the side of junta’s forces. What’s ridiculous was that the Border Guard Force (BGF), which sides with the evil military, and junta’s soldiers mistakenly attacked each other yesterday. The fight must be intense because it was reported that 12 soldiers from the BGF and three from junta’s army died. Unfortunately, three civilians also died from the shootout.

As usual, the deaths and abductions continue. U Kyaw Kyaw Oo, a 40-year-old tuition teacher from Mandalay was abducted during protests on May 2 and today it was reported that he died at a military hospital in Pyin Oo Lwin. The family has been contacted about his death, but hasn’t received the body. The military also abducted 11 pedestrians after a bomb blast went off yesterday at 7pm in Twante, Yangon. A first year student at Mandalay Nursing and Midwifery Training was also abducted. Two young women activists in Payathonzu town, Kayin State, and a young girl from Mogok, Mandalay, were arrested, and their whereabouts are unknown. After the crackdown of the protest in Hakha, three civilians were abducted. With reports of women detainee’s experiences on abuse and sexual harassment in detention and interrogation, more and more arrests of women keep us worried.

News of explosions continued. Last night, a car bomb exploded when a ward administrator from Yangon’s Thingangyun township opened the door of a taxi he owned. Today, bombs blasted at three different places in Yangon – office of Road Transportation Administration Department (RTAD), Dagon University Recreation Center and No. 5 High School of Botahtaung township respectively. A female employee was injured from the explosion at RTAD but no injuries reported in other incidents. However, a student and two of his friends were beaten and arrested by junta’s soldiers as suspects for the bomb blast inside Dagon University. In Mandalay, a parcel bomb was blasted in Mya Yee Nandar housing this afternoon, and two people were injured. Again this evening, two bombs exploded on 35th street of Mandalay. In Taunggyi, Shan State, two explosions were heard near Taunggyi Technical University this morning, and one person was injured. In Kachin State, a bomb blasted in front of Myitkyina’s Kanbawza Bank this morning around 6am. Another explosion took place at Momauk Township Administration Office, injuring four employees. As usual, the culprits are always unknown, but whoever planted these bombs, we’d like to remind that schools should not be targets for such attacks.

At the front of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), more than 900 striking staff from the Minbu Oil Fields have been evicted from their staff housing for refusing to work under the military. Military also announced that electricity will be cut off if civilians continue to boycott payments of electricity bills. Netizens urge each other to not give in because it would be an insult to CDM workers from electricity supply corporations.

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