Today is Day 139. Myanmar people remain persistent to truth and justice. Our goal is clear: We, the people, hold the absolute power,” and “We will topple Min Aung Hlaing’s illegal coup.” A Flower Strike campaign under the theme “Freedom from Fear” was held in honor of the birthday of the nation’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Flowers are also to show defiance of the people. A Myanmar saying, “Still wearing flowers” in the context of a fight or an argument implies that one remains calm, unafraid, and defiant in the face of adversity and challenges. It is in this spirit that millions of people across the country wear flowers in their hair to say loud and clear, “We are not afraid”. We are resolute in our “Freedom from Fear” just like our beloved leader. People from the wet markets, construction workers, CDM teachers, students, young novices, Karen ethnic armed soldiers, young children and elderlies from the north to deep south of Myanmar have joined the campaign. Today, Myanmar’s streets are filled with scents of flowers and social media feeds filled with colors of the flowers.
Today also marks the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The embassies of Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden issued a joint-statement together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Myanmar to call for an end to sexual violence against women in conflicts which is a rampant issue in Myanmar. Myanmar women, especially women from ethnic minority groups, have long suffered from sexual abuses committed by junta’s forces in conflict areas. Myanmar diaspora has also called for global demonstration to shed light on sexual violence against women by the Myanmar military in the Sister2sister campaign wearing bold red lipstick color to tell the truth about sufferings of Myanmar women using hashtags #redlipsspeaktruthtopower and #sister2sistercampaign.
Yet, the atrocities of the regime’s forces see no end. Junta’s forces were seen taking unknown numbers of women who were wearing flowers in their hair in Yangon, and the restaurant named Cafe 99 in Pyin Oo Lwin, a military town in Mandalay, was raided as the workers and shop owner were distributing roses to customers today. Netizens reported that nine workers and three shopkeepers at Cafe 99 were taken by the junta’s soldiers this morning. With the aim to crackdown on anti-coup protesters who joined the resistance movement, the regime’s forces are busy hunting down people. Today, the State Administration Council (SAC) sent a directive to monks in Sagaing that they inform the local administrators of any visitors who stay overnight at the monasteries. Strong-willed monks rejected such a directive saying it is unprecedented and is an attempt to oppress the monks and anti-coup resistance fighters.
The regime continues to hunt down the National League for Democracy (NLD) members and supporters. Around 10am this morning, 60 junta’s soldiers stormed Kalargyi and Kinmontaw villages of Chaung-U township, Monywa district, Sagaing, and shot indiscriminately into the villages. It is reported that the soldiers have also been stationed in the schools in Kinmontaw village. With the information given by their informants, they came to look for active NLD supporters in the villages and when they couldn’t find the person, they destroyed their houses and left. Many villagers fled as soon as they learned the soldiers were coming to avoid any intimidation. Unfortunately, an ex-NLD candidate in Mudon, Mon State, was arrested today at his house with forces arriving in four vehicles just to arrest one man.
Locals from Demoso township, Karenni (Kayah) State reported today that delivering aid and offering humanitarian assistance to displaced civilians from the area has recently been easy due to the ceasefire between the KPDF and the junta’s forces. Some have returned homes, but many whose homes were destroyed by the junta’s soldiers have remained in the jungle with no homes to return to. Ceasefire was effective since June 12 due to negotiations of the clergy to avoid launching attacks on churches where the civilians have taken refuge and to stop confrontations.
At the international front, the junta has not been able to secure legitimacy of any sort. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for “countries to prevent arms flow to Myanmar” and “Myanmar armed forces to respect the will of the people” with 119 votes in favor, and one vote against and 36 abstentions. Even the votes of the ASEAN member states are divided with Brunei, Lao, Cambodia, and Thailand abstaining and the rest voting in favor. Surprisingly, Russia and China also refused to vote. Whatever the result, this has a symbolic significance that the junta still struggles to assert its legitimacy.
On the other hand, Czech Republic Prime Minister sent a birthday wish to Aung San Suu Kyi, referring to her as the State Counsellor of Myanmar in the letter. The country has also recognized the diplomatic civil servant endorsed by the National Unity Government (NUG) previously. With Czech Republic as an example, we hope that many democratic countries from the free world will follow suit and respect the will of the millions of people from Myanmar.