Freedom Memoirs – Day 188

We reported earlier this week about U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar Ambassador to the UN, facing threat on his life. US Attorney’s Office announced yesterday that two Myanmar citizens have been charged in New York for plotting to kill U Kyaw Moe Tun,  Phyo Hein Htut, 28 and Ye Hein Zaw, 20 were charged with conspiracy to assault and make a violent attack upon a foreign official. The legal complaint submitted by FBI mentioned Phyo Hein Htut’s testimony where a arms dealer based in Thailand contacting him to hire attackers to hurt the ambassador in an attempt to force him to step down, and to end his life by tempering with his car should he refuse to step down. The proposed fees of $5,000 and transaction records were also disclosed. U Kyaw Moe Tun has been a constant voice highlighting junta’s atrocities at the global level and junta’s attempt to remove his position has so far been unsuccessful. A diplomatic battle on whether UN will continue its recognition to him or junta appointee representative is expected to ensue in September when UN Credential Committee convenes. 

On attempt on his life, U Kyaw Moe Tun refused to point fingers to specific people but vowed his works will continue uninterrupted. He also extends his thank to the American Government, State Department and law enforcement for their support, assistance and professionalism, saying, “They saved my life and saved any harm from coming to me.” On the issue, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said, “As alleged in today’s federal charges, these defendants reached across borders and oceans in designing a violent plot against an international leader on United States soil. … But our NYPD investigators and prosecutors form the US Attroney’s Office for the Southern District of New York worked relentlessly with our law enforcement partners to bring them to justice before any harm could be done.”

Peaceful protests, organised by student unions, worker unions, monks, LGBTQ communities, and the general public were observed in Yangon, Mandalay, Hpakant, Myaing, Salingyi, Dawei, Yinmarbin, Natmauk, and many other places. With August 8, the most iconic day of 1988 Revolution for Democracy is tomorrow, protests are held in many places under the slogan of “In 2021, we will settle the score from 1988”. The protests have become more vibrant, widespread and grab more media attention. We will have to wait what might unfold tomorrow.

Aside protests locally, anti-government protests in Thailand also served to inspire the public in Myanmar. The Milk Tea Alliance solidarity movement features prominently among Myanmar netizens today and Thailand’s Prime Minister retired General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s alleged friendly relations with Min Aung Hlaing make the Myanmar people who want democracy to be more sympathetic and stand in solidarity with our Thai peers.  

In armed conflict front, local media report today that junta’s forces artillery shelling and gunfires to civilian wards in Kanpetlet Town, Chin State onAugust 6 caused serious property damage to houses and the local church. Khit Thit Media mentioned a local’s claim of “They are shooting deliberately, knowingly that there are civilians inside the houses. My house is full of holes, and so are the pots in the kitchen.” Local news sources confirm that the shoots are unilateral from junta’s forces side alone and there were no armed conflict between the junta’s forces and local defense forces on that night.

Also in Pang Hseng Township, northern Shan State, clashes between August 3 to 5 among junta’s forces and MNDAA (Kokang Ethnic Militia) saw five death including two commanding officers, from junta’s forces, Kokang News report today. 

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