Freedom Memoirs – Day 177

Another day under military rule, Another day where thousands mourn the loss of their loved ones to easily preventable deaths and entire country reel in pain. Yesterday evening, the junta announced that the results of 2020 Myanmar General Election has been annulled due to election fraud, a claim only repeated by the junta and dismissed repeatedly by the public and international observers alike. Based on ridiculous claims of election fraud, the junta has piled up misery and chaos on people’s lives and livelihoods, with incomes down and deaths mounting. Nonetheless, the junta and military have stepped up playing guardians of the country and democracy with this act.

Floods in Southeastern part of Myanmar is piling up more gloom on people beset by COVID and overall suffering. Residents from the Mawlamyine City in Mon State and Myawaddy Town in Kayin State, two population centres which got hit badly, claim that no support whatsoever comes from the junta’s administration, for flood relief. Community members and volunteer groups were working on both flood relief and COVID response. The National Unity Government (NUG) announced yesterday that heavy rains were expected between 26 July to 1 August which could possibly worsen the situation.

Earlier today, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), a Netherlands based nonprofit research centre, submitted a complaint against Telenor’s sale of its Myanmar businesses to Lebanese company M1 Group, on behalf of 474 Myanmar civil society organizations. SOMO insists that the deal fails to meet the standards of responsible disengagement set under OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) Guidelines and the complaint is filed towards Norwegian National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Telenor, the Norwegian majority state-owned telecommunication company is widely seen as a flagship investor during Myanmar’s democratic transition past decade. However, it has been trying to leave Myanmar since the coup and junta’s repeated oppression, monitoring telecommunications and other policies have made impossible for any telecoms to operate in the country without violating liberty. Consequently, it wrote off almost $800mil in value in May and the reported sales value of $105mil shows how willing Telenor is to get out of the country. Nonetheless, it seems they cannot leave as they wish and the junta’s touch in this case will as a cautionary tale for any potential investor in the future.

This morning in Myin Chan Town, Mandalay Region, two NLD supporters were shot to death by junta’s lackey Pyu Saw Htee vigilante group, Khit Thit Media reports. The locals confirm the news saying the couple running a restaurant were killed by a local Pyu Saw Htee cell, and no actions on the murder are being taken by the junta’s police.

Peaceful protests were observed today in parts of Yangon and Mandalay, Kale, Dawei, Butalin, Myaing, Latpadaung Taung. Most protests were able to staged and dispersed before crackdown, however junta’s soldiers and plain-clothed intelligence officers efforts have intensified considerably in Mandalay City today and protestors in Mandalay had to go through tremendous struggles. Buddhist Monks Union protest group had to move the protesting sites for three places before a protest could be staged for 169consecutive day. However, Mya Taung protest group got gunned by plain-clothed soldiers and a 25-years old woman died from headshot and two men were arrested under suffering gunshot wounds. 

Four protest organizers in Meiktila Town, Mandalay Region were arrested yesterday around 11pm in their hideout. They are reportedly being held at interrogation centres and family members are feeling worried due to repeated scenarios of arrested activists turning up death the next day. Also in Naypyitaw, a student union leader was arrested. The Student Union spokesperson confirmed that Kyaw Bo Bo Khant, a second year engineering student was hiding at a local monastery and four truckloads of soldiers raided the monastery compound for his arrest. The spokesperson continues that he is reportedly unwell during the time of arrest and with rampant COVID in the prisons, his health situation is very concerning. 

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