Freedom Memoirs – Day 155

This morning around 7am, a woman in Pathein township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, visited a pagoda to say prayers. An hour later, she was found dead in the pagoda compound. Local volunteers said that she died due to shortness of breath, but the actual cause of death is unknown so far. On July 3, junta imposed stay-at-home order in Pathein township because of the increasing Covid-19 cases. In another part of Ayeyarwaddy Region, Maubin township, a middle school teacher also passed away with Covid-19 this morning. In Kalay township, Sagaing Region, it was reported that more than 100 people died of Covid-19 from July 1-4. On our social media, we have seen various posts such as increasing Covid positive cases and deaths all over the country, shortage of oxygen supplies, Yangon General Hospital and other private hospitals refusing to admit patients with low oxygen level, etc. Many of us, especially striking doctors, feel powerless as we have to watch the healthcare sector collapses and people die. The culprit is no other than the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, an incompetent leader-wannabe who staged a coup in the middle of a detrimental pandemic, putting lives of millions of people in danger. 

Despite the raging coronavirus, Myanmar people are risking their lives and protesting against the military council. From people-less online campaigns to marching protests, people from northern parts to southern parts are resisting the junta. Today, protesters were seen chanting encouraging words to Depayin and Kawlin townships which suffered severe attacks by the junta’s forces during the past weekend. For the people of Kalay town, attaining democracy is more important than containing coronavirus as we saw a marching protest in the town of Kalay today. We know very well that the military council couldn’t care less about the public, and that only by restoring a democratically elected government asap, we can overcome the pressing issues like a pandemic. That’s why protests are seen everyday all over the country since the coup in February. 

On the front of armed resistance, Shwegu People’s Defense Force (PDF) announced this morning that the Shwegu-PDF and alliance Kachin Independence Army (KIA) launched two attacks at the regime’s forces last night: one near Ngabatgyi village where the junta’s forces secretly stationed, and another at Shwegu Township Police Station, in Bhamo District, Kachin State. It was announced that there was no casualties from Shwegu-PDF and KIA’s side. In Sagaing’s Kawlin township, Kawlin PDF ambushed the military trucks on Kawlin-Shwebo highway road last night. The ambush resulted in a fight, killing at least 20 junta’s soldiers and two from the Kawlin PDF according to a local. Myanmar Now media reported that KIA joined forces with the PDF during the fight. However, less exciting news came from Depayin township of the same region. Last night, Depayin-PDF announced on its Facebook that 26 PDF fighters were killed, and more than 50 fighters were injured from the clashes which started on July 2. 

Junta’s atrocities are now committed by its minions: uniformed soldiers and plain-clothed Pyu Saw Htee members. Last night in Thegon village of Hopin township, Kachin State, a monk was beaten up by the regime’s forces and Pyu Saw Htee members and the reason for such torture being “the monk wrote anti-military posts on his Facebook”. Since the small village is filled with military supporters, some of the villagers and monks are now in hiding. In Magway Region’s Pwint Phyu township, a villager from Mangyikone village was abducted yesterday. Because of the military informants, the regime’s soldiers have abducted civilians in Pwint Phyu township since last week. We all know by now that the presence of junta’s forces only bring arrests, tortures and killings. In Kani township of Sagaing Region, the regime’s soldiers told villagers to remain in their villages because they came to provide security, and threatened that they would shoot if villagers fled into hiding. Due to the clash between local PDF and the junta’s forces on July 1, junta’s soldiers have been raiding and looting villages in Kani township.

Apparently, junta’s oppression is not exclusively to Myanmar people only. Today, Reuters News revealed that around mid-June, the junta’s Post and Telecommunication Department (PTD) ordered telecommunication companies that its senior executives, both foreigners and nationals, must request for permission to authorities when they plan to travel outside the country. A week later, PTD sent a second letter to finish implementation of intercept technology which the department had previously ordered the telecom companies by July 5 (today). A source told Reuters that the travel restriction was imposed to pressure telecom companies to complete the installation of spyware. If we recall the early days of the coup, the junta tried to pass a draconian cybersecurity bill which “would require telecoms providers to provide data when requested and remove or block any content deemed to be disrupting unity, stabilisation, and peace.” 

In last week’s court hearing, the detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers tried to dismiss that the evidence document by the plaintiff’s side, but the judge rejected the lawyers’ attempt, and announced an interim order to accept the evidence. And in this week’s court hearing, Lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw submitted a request to revise the interim order, but the court rejected on the spot, without hearing the lawyer out. Currently, the court in Naypyidaw is hearing three out of six charges that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been facing, and scheduled to wrap up by the end of July, but we all know how it will end. When the verdict is pre-decided, all these court hearings are pretty much pointless. 

To end the entry in a good note, fifth batch of military training has completed in National Unity Government (NUG)’s People Defense Force Southern Command. Myanmar people are trying to survive day to day, resisting as much as we can, fighting with whatever weapon we have. We are determined to remove the fascist military once and for all.

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