Freedom Memoirs – Day 105

The battle of Mindat devastated every Myanmar person who has sided with justice by resisting the coup since February. The news from Mindat this morning hurt us even more. It is reported that the junta’s forces are shooting everyone who is trying to flee the town into the forest. Most men have fled to the jungle for a temporary retreat due to incomparable junta’s forces deployed in the town. Military ambushed the main road of Mindat and stationed themselves in large numbers. The battles that had started from April stretching from May 14 to May 15 claimed the lives of six young men from Chinland Defence Force (CDF) Mindat. 

Many towns held prayer and encouragement strikes for Mindat. Last night, villagers of Amyint Street, Monywa, wrote “Stay Strong Mindat” messages in candles to send strength and prayed for the safety of the town. Again this morning, anti-coup protesters of jade mining town, Hpakant, and Putao, Kachin State, also held banners that said “Stay Strong Mindat” to lift the warrior spirit of Mindat. Meanwhile, varying forms of protests continue across the country. Hundreds of residents of Katha town, Sagaing have also marched against the coup today. Early morning “sports” strike was held in Loikaw where women wore sports attire. Members of the Mandalay Sangha Union who have been holding daily protest rallies also staged a demonstration. In Dawei, a coalition-strike was held by engineers, education staff, LGBT groups and university students. 

Protests against the reopening of schools were seen in the forms of vandalizing public schools with spray paints writing anti-coup and anti-slavery education messages. Students also held home strikes holding banners against the slavery education system of the junta. Military denied in yesterday’s press conference that their education system is far from slavery education system, as claimed by the “rioters”. Junta has temporarily suspended striking civil servants from works across different ministries and departments. It is reported that more than 100,000 education staff who are doing CDM have been fired by the junta. These include educators and administrative staff from the basic education sector. 

Junta’s torture, abductions, and killings has not failed since February. Military forces were seen brutally beating and abducting civilians in Taunggyi this afternoon. Last night, a young protester Maung Naung Maw from Winemaw was abducted during a night strike. A funeral service of a 22-year-old protester, killed by the military on May 10, was held today in Namati, Kachin State. The death toll reached 790 yesterday according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners with almost 4,000 people currently detained. A freed Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi shared insights from the prison to the reporters upon his arrival in Japan. He discussed that Myanmar people had to experience forced hunger, beatings and tortures in the prison and interrogation center according to the testimonies he collected during his stay. Reports also say that women have also been sexually harassed. 

A lot of unfortunate events unfolded between last night and today. Random explosions have been increasing in the urbans areas which have many citizens worried to travel freely in the towns. Consecutively, a massive fire broke out in downtown Pabedan’s market around 11:30am today. Fire fighters had only been able to put out just before 1pm. In a jade-mining town, Hpakant, Kachin State, a landslide occurred in a jade mining area last night (May 15), injuring two and trapping one. Rescuers are still trying to get the trapped person out. The jade mining town has met this type of unfortunate accident very frequently which took the lives of many miners in the past years. In Moemauk town, Kachin State, a man lost his limb from the land mine that exploded on his way to harvest with his wife. 

On the updates on the armed resistance, it is reported that the military flew five war planes and carried out airstrikes against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) Brigade 3, Battalion 27 near Madam Yang village this noon. In retaliation, KIA was able to destroy the military’s reinforcement ship in Shwegu town. Many town-based groups of People’s Defence Force(PDF) have been formed today. PDF-Pantanaw, Ayeyarwaddy, and PDF-Karen have been formed to aid the fight against the evil junta’s forces. Prime Minister of the National Unity Government (NUG) Mahn Win Khaing Than said in a speech today that a moderned armed force required formations, strategies, weapons, training and recruitment which would need a certain amount of time. As much as we understand, the violence committed by junta’s sadistic soldiers doesn’t wait. 

Despite all the bad news, a positive spirit was lit with the blessings from the Pope. Pope Francis today held a special Mass for the Myanmar community in Italy, and said “Do not give in to evil and division”. With his blessings on us, we will continue with our struggle without losing our faith and hope. And eventually we will claim the victory!

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