Freedom Memoirs – Day 157

Today marks the 59th anniversary of the past military regime’s bloody crackdown on the students who took to the streets of Yangon to stage a protest against the military rule led by dictator General Ne Win on July 7, 1962. Earlier in March 1962, General Ne Win staged a coup, and around 3000-5000 students staged a protest on this day. More than 100 students were brutally massacred on this day in 1962, and the Students Union building inside Yangon University compound was blown off with the dynamite on 8 July 1962. Remembering the regime’s crackdown on university students on July 7, 1962, brave people of Myanmar took to the streets today. Protests were observed despite the rain in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Magway region to name a few.

A citizen journalist recorded a trail of more than 100 military personnels marching to the Kawlin Township, Sagaing. A township that has been fierce in fighting against the junta’s forces. Junta’s usual response was to reinforce more troops to a town that has staged an armed revolt and brutally crack them down including unarmed civilians. Irrawaddy news reported that around 10 junta forces on patrol in Seng Awng Village, Kachin State’s Hpakant Township, were attacked by Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People Defence Force (PDF) this morning. The junta’s soldiers were attacked with remotely detonated mines. The number of casualties is not yet known. In Bago Township, a soldier was killed in a bomb blast when he went to remove the vinyl of the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi off the moat. Bago PDF claimed it was their doing that killed the soldier. In Naypyidaw, where the junta and the gang reside, two policemen were killed by Naypyidaw PDF. In Dagon Seikkan Township, Yangon, a ward administrative officer and his driver were shot dead.

People continue boycotting the military businesses and join the public civil disobedience movement by refusing to pay the bills. It’s been reported that the State Administrative Council (SAC) and its lackeys have been audacious to go on with their announcements or rather threats to the public to pay the electricity bills. Today again, the SAC’s lackeys were making announcements in South Okkalapa, North Dagon and Shwepyithar Townships to pay for bills starting from February to July with today as the deadline for the payment. If people don’t pay the bills, their electricity supply will be cut off, says a loudspeaker from the truck that went around neighbourhoods after neighborhoods in these townships, Khit Thit reported. Young people in Social Media have been finding solutions to this problem, and have been encouraging each other to never submit to the junta’s plan for them to buy guns to shoot us. We must be strong and resilient in order to find ways to overcome this.

Chief of Staff in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assistant to the State Counsellor, Zaw Naing Win, was sentenced to seven years in prison for participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) since early days and joining protests calling for “Free Aung San Suu Kyi”. Mandalay Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung and other chief ministers are all charged with “corruption” similar to the State Counsellor. Six civilians were also arrested around 10pm by the forces last night. As if the torture and the abuses and violations of the rights of the political prisoners are not enough, the junta is using Covid-19 a reason to further violate the rights of those detained. Lawyers say Yangon’s Insein prison to be lockdown starting from July 8 until further notice as the Covid-19 cases surge. All the court sessions inside the prison have been suspended starting today, Irrawaddy news reported, although it is unclear how many prisoners have been infected.

Myanmar struggles with Covid-19 third wave. With healthcare disrupted, cases continue to rise with no proper treatment for the people in both the public and private hospitals. Positive case clusters were found in police stations of Bago and Taungdwingyi Townships today and among those tested positive were non-CDM teachers who were at the schools. In Bago, Painnegone police station, three policemen and 13 prisoners were confirmed positive. Covid-19 death toll rises to 12 in Pathein Township today, reported by Mizzima News, with more than 500 confirmed cases in the township alone according to local social organizations. 

In Yangon, just like Kalay and Mandalay townships, people are struggling to find oxygen tank cylinder regulators. Over 40 people died yesterday and cemeteries quickly filled up in Kalay. Still, netizens reported that many public and private hospitals alike in Yangon have refused to give treatments to people who are facing short of breath. Stay-at-home orders are effective from today in Naypyidaw, Pyinmanar, Bago, Taunggu and Pyi Townships as confirmed cases rose to 3602 cases out of 12,832 people tested. The positive rate rose to 28.07% yesterday from 26.93% the day before, according to the SAC’s Ministry of Health and Sports. Meanwhile, the National Unity Government (NUG) has been providing information for home quarantine and telemedicine service.

On the international front, Japan’s Diet members swore in the virtual meeting with the NUG that Japanese lawmakers will put in more efforts for Japan to recognize the NUG since it is the only government elected by the people, condemning the coup and the military. Mizzima News also reported that the United Nation’s top human rights official, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, has called on ASEAN countries to launch a political dialogue with the military junta and the democratically elected leadership in Myanmar, with support from the international community. Michelle Bachelet urged for the nations to stand united with the people of Myanmar and to show support and solidarity.

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