Freedom Memoirs – Day 190

Around 9pm last night in Mandalay, residents who lived near Obo Prison said that they heard protest chants from the inside of the prison. According to Myanmar Now media’s report, the protest chants lasted about 30 minutes, and two gunshots were also heard. Afterwards, recorded Buddhist sutras were played inside the prison compound until 10pm. The prison department denied the in-prison protest when Mandalay based Voice of Myanmar news agency reached out for comment. In Obo prison, several NLD top leaders, Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) leaders and protesters are being detained by the regime. 

Covid cases are also spiking inside Obo Prison starting June. Prison visits and meetings with lawyers are restricted for the time being. Yesterday, it was reported that Dr Maung Maung Nyein Tun, a well-respected surgeon and lecturer Mandalay Medicine University, passed away with Covid-19 inside Obo prison. He was beaten up and arrested on July 19, together with his wife and another colleague, for having connections with National Unity Government (NUG). Due to the worsening Covid situation inside the prison, similar prison protest took place in Yangon’s Insein Prison in late July as the detainees demanded for better treatment and containment of Coronavirus in the prison. The regime’s mismanagement and/or unwillingness to contain the deadly pandemic has claimed many lives of valuable people for the country.

Amidst Covid and the coup, people of Myanmar haven’t given up on freedom and democracy. Sangha Union in Mandalay City staged a marching strike, protesters from Taze township, Sagaing Region organized a protest in a paddy field, and protesters from Yinmabin and Sarlingyi townships of Sagaing Region came out in the streets to mark the death of Poet Khet Thi three months ago. Kalay township and Budalin township organized marching strikes, and Yangon also saw guerrilla protest among tight security. Nearly 200 days since the coup and people continued to show defiance against the military regime.

As our struggles for democracy continue, so does the regime’s atrocity. In Depayin township, Sagaing Region, the regime’s forces burned down Namya and Marakan villages, and abducted three villagers this morning according to DVB News. A local villager said that the regime’s light infantry troops travelled along Depayin-Nyaung Hla highway road yesterday, committed similar attacks on three other villages along the way, and abducted about 10 villagers without proper reason. Locals assumed that the junta’s forces were harassing the villagers as a retaliation because two military trucks saw landmine on the night of August 7 in Depayin township.

Around 2pm today, junta’s forces from Myaing Township, Magway Region, disguised and travelled with private cars to Pike Thin village to look for Maung San Ko, a protest leader. Although they received tip-off from a dalan, they could not find Maung San Ko. The junta’s soldiers then beat up four local youths and asked the whereabout of the protest leader, and when one of the four youths was scared and tried to escape, he was shot dead instantly. According to Khit Thit media’s report, the regime’s forces were still targeting Pike Thin village with one military truck and one police truck.

For the upcoming Karen Martyr’s Day which falls on August 12, the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Chairperson Saw Mutu Say Poe said that dialogue would no longer work if there was no political will to resolve the country’s political turmoil in his Martyr’s Day message. He continued that while a channel for dialogue should be opened, protection to Karen people’s safety must be continued. Prior to this message, Saw Mutu Say Poe was keen on continuing the path of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) which received criticisms. Many youths, both Karen and non-Karen alike, welcome this message by KNU leader since we no longer wish to negotiate or have dialogue with the murderous regime. 

Today, Myanmar Now media reported that the detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement to stop talking to local or international media organisations. Last week, lawyer Daw San Marlar Nyunt was taken to a local General Administration Office, and the authorities accused her of having connection with international community. She was forced to sign a form to not disclose any information to anyone. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been relaying messages from her to the public whenever they had quick meetings before court hearings. This NDA was widely seen as an attempt to stop Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s messages to the public. 

In other news, Dagon University Students’ Union today announced the passing of Phone Myat Ye Win, who gave his life while fighting the fascist military. The young man was a first year student at Dagon University, majoring in International Relations. Many young men and women who should be creating better future for themselves or the country are instead taking up arms, training in forests and facing the facist soldiers who only know to follow the orders without conscience. With the high price we have to pay for this revolution, we must really win this and remove the military regime from our soil for good.

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