Freedom Memoirs – Day 173

Around 7am this morning, loud protest chantings were heard from Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison. Locals from the nearby area captured the moment and quickly shared videos on our social media. Detainees from the prison were heard singing protest song “Blood Oath”, and chanting “the revolution must win”. It was later reported that detainees had demanded for proper medical treatment as more and more detainees had fallen sick inside the prison. Previously, the regime had imposed the prison for 14 days lockdown due to Covid outbreak, and limited the prison visits including food delivery for detainees. Later in the day, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) issued a statement that the prisoners’ protest was joined by some prison staffs, and the regime’s soldiers entered the prison and took control. Knowing that there is no place to run or hide, courage of the striking detainees is remarkable but we are really worried for more brutal tortures inside. Family members of detainees are encouraged to contact International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 

To show support and unity for our comrades in the prison, residents from some townships in Yangon banged pots and pans around 12pm, and another session on 8pm. Youths also came out in the streets to show solidarity with the detainees, holding banners which read “Together with our heroes from Insein”. Later in the day, DVB News reported that a brief protest was staged by detainees in Obo prison in Mandalay, but the situation was controlled shortly after. Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and National Unity Government (NUG) issued urgent appeals to ICRC to support the detained political prisoners immediately. Sixteen ambassadors in Yangon, mostly from western countries, also issued a joint statement to urge the relevant authorities to “resolve the situation peacefully and respect the basic right to proper healthcare for all those detained inside this and other prisons”. Yangon Urban Guerrillas also announced that they have been paying close attention on the developments inside Insein Prison.

Outside the prisons, Covid-19 situation continued to unfold tragically. DVB News reported that about 1300 dead bodies were cremated in all four crematoriums in Yangon region yesterday. But, the junta’s Ministry of Health and Sports reported that daily Covid death toll was about 300 only nationwide, which was no doubt underreported. The state-owned papers reported the imports of oxygen tanks and other Covid treatment medical supplies but in the market, an oxygen tank is 10-15 times more expensive than the normal price, painkillers such as paracetamols are now 6-7 times more expensive. No matter how hard it is to acquire oxygen or medications, people tried their best to provide care for their family members. Yet, the regime’s forces chose to attack the people in despair. In Taungdwingyi, Bago Region, civilians on their way homes after buying medicines for sick family members were beaten up by the junta’s soldiers because they violated nighttime curfews. 

The State Administration Council (SAC) has turned the country into a living hell but we are united now more than ever. Known for our generosity and kindness, abled young men and women all over the country helped out people in need. In Yay Oo township, Sagaing Region, locals organized “Take if needed, donate if you have extra” program to solve the food insecurity problem as markets were shut down for a week now. Similarly in Aung Lan township, Magway Region, local youths distributed basic food supplies to families that are in need. In Yangon, locals provided food and medicine supplies to households that raised white and yellow flags. Philosopher Joseph de Maistre once said, “Every nation gets the government it deserves” but courageous, generous and kind people of Myanmar obviously deserve better than the murderous military council. 

Six months into the failed coup, the people continued to show defiance against Min Aung Hlaing’s military regime. As mentioned earlier, guerrilla protests were staged in Yangon, protest rallies were organized by students and monks in Mandalay, more marching strikes were observed in Launglon township in Taninthayi, Kalay township in Sagaing Region, Pakokku township in Magway Region. However, villages’ marching strike in Yinmabin and Sarlingyi townships in Sagaing Region was cracked down by the junta’s forces around 9am this morning and at least five protesters were arrested according to DVB News’ report. Depending on the security and Covid situation, Myanmar people all over the country continued to resist the junta in every possible way. 

On the front of armed resistance, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) announced today that the armed group, together with Karenni Army (KnA), had ambushed the regime’s reinforcement trucks in Loikaw Township yesterday afternoon. The attack destroyed one truck and injuries were also observed. In the same announcement, the KNDF warned that the regime had been transporting food supplies and reinforcement to continue its attacks in Bawlakhe and Hpruso townships. As we reported yesterday, clashes resumed between the junta’s forces and Chinland Defense Force (CDF) in Mindat town, and the clash on July 22 killed one CDF fighter. Due to the fights, villagers and displaced people (IDPs) from nearby areas had to flee into the woods again. In regard to UNHCR’s humanitarian aid for IDPs, elderlies from Mindat, religious leaders and the SAC are still in negotiation for the distribution plan. 

As if infantry divisions and airstrikes aren’t enough, the SAC has been using all sorts of attacks. This morning in Sagaing Region, Kani Township, the regime’s soldiers used a boat and launched artillery shelling on villages along Chindwin river bank. DVB News reported that thousands of villagers who lived along the river are now being displaced.

We observed attacks on the regime’s lackeys became fewer these days. However, around 9am this morning, two gunmen opened fire at a village-tract administrator from Thaton township, Mon State, killing the 56-year-old man instantly. In Shwebo, Sagaing Region, two explosions took place in front of Myanma Shae Saung Bank consecutively this morning, injuring two SAC members. 

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