Freedom Memoirs – Day 154

Last night around 9pm, residents of Kalay, Sagaing Region were subjected to sounds of explosions and gunshots. For two hours straight afterwards, the regime’s forces were repeatedly shooting around in the neighborhoods and streets in Aung Mingalar and Taung Zalat wards. A man reportedly died from heart failure due to a loud explosion and gunshots. This is not the first time an innocent resident’s life was lost due to sounds of explosions and gunshots in Kalay town. A few months back, a new mom also passed away from the gunshots sound of the security forces in Kalay. 

Despite the non-stop intimidation from Min Aung Hlaing’s mindless soldiers, people still came out marching the streets in Kalay this morning to protest for the fall of the military regime. In today’s protests, we saw villagers from Budalin Township of Sagaing Region, residents of Mon State’s Paung Township take to the streets to prove that nobody is giving up even after five months. In Mandalay, we saw protests from the Engineering Association, the monks and workers. Tanintharyi Region’s Launglon Township does not give up at all. Day after day, under whatever weather or whatever the security situation, residents of the Launglon Township’s villages marched the streets asking for the fall of the military rule. Residents of Kachin State’s Hpakant Township also came out strongly today and rallied under the monsoon rain. Weekend means the Myanmar diaspora from across the world also took the time to protest in unity with us. 

In today’s abduction news, three women in Pyay, Bago Region were abducted by the junta’s soldiers, accused of being in the protest video clip of Min Aung Hlaing’s mock funeral yesterday. In another part of Bago in Paungde town, the father and 80-year-old grandfather of an activist were abducted as hostages by the security forces when they couldn’t locate their target. Speaking of families being taken as hostages, remember the 5-year-old Ma Su Htet Wine from Mogok who was taken as hostage and detained until June 30? Her father told DVB News that his older daughter and wife are still detained and he heard from his contact inside the military that his daughter’s health condition is not good, and yet no medical treatment was granted for her. She had a medical condition called rheumatoid arthritis and she was also tortured during interrogation as well. Despite releasing over 2000 political prisoners a few days ago, the military council continues to arrest and abduct innocent civilians, political activists and basically anyone that they don’t like. In Mandalay, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) who is a protest leader and three others were abducted from their safe house today. 

On the resistance front, the graduation video of the first batch of People’s Defence Forces (PDF) from Shwebo township of Sagaing Region was going around on social media, and we wished them a safe journey and victory. The resistance groups in the south of Shan State also announced that they have formed an alliance group called South Shan Youths Groups PDF. The group is a coalition of PDFs from Taunggyi, Tai, Loilem, Laikha, Pinlon and Namsang. 

Yesterday, we reported about a village raid in Depeyin township of Sagaing where about 150 regime soldiers stormed into a village with guns blazing. Myanmar Now reported today that during the clashes between the military troops and Depeyin-PDF in Satpyakyin village on July 2, over 30 people were killed due to the use of heavy artillery from the military side. A resident told Myanmar Now this evening that the dead bodies are still being collected and so far, there are a total of 31 bodies, and they were of both PDF members and civilians. 

Whether it’s in Myanmar or elsewhere, the military council’s approach towards its people is through intimidation. Khit Thit Media reported today that Myanmar civil servants who received scholarships and were studying in Australia were being forced by the embassy to declare that they haven’t been involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Australia’s media house, ABC obtained a copy of an email sent by a Myanmar diplomat in which it threatens the scholars to pledge their allegiance to Myanmar’s government and not post anything on social media that are against the “Union of Myanmar”, or that they may be “subject to punishment”. Myanmar scholars in New Zealand also said that they have received the same letter from the embassy in Canberra, Australia. A student from New Zealand said she is terrified for her and her family back home as she has publicly protested against the military junta in New Zealand, and she is worried that the military would arrest her once she lands at the airport. 

Before we end our update, just a PSA for all of us in the country—in recent days, the number of new COVID-19 cases have been over 2000 on a daily basis with more people dying every day as well. Today’s death toll is at 35. Whether the government announced this officially or not, we are currently in the third wave of COVID-19, and with everything going on in the country, our healthcare system is hanging by a thread, so please, take it upon yourself to be vigilant and to fight against COVID-19 like we all have been fighting against the coup!

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