Today marks the 71st Karen Martyr’s Day, commemorating the death of Karen national leader Saw Ba U Gyi and others who have fought for the Karen independence throughout the years. Successive Myanmar government had banned commemoration of the day, refusing to acknowledge significance of an ethnic leader. The previous NLD government allowed the ceremony; however, ordered the term “martyr” not be used. Today would have been just another day for majority of the population had it not been for the military coup. Instead, social media platforms were filled with wishes and prayers in tribute to Saw Ba U Gyi and fellow Karen Martyrs.
The commemoration ceremony was held by local People Defense Forces (PDF) early this morning. In addition to remembering the Karen heroes, a tribute was also paid to the fallen PDF soldiers of the Spring Revolution including those six victims who jumped off the building in Yangon to escape a raid on August 10. However, a planned ceremony was banned by junta’s forces in Be Ga Yet Village of Ayawaddy Region, the native village of Saw Ba U Gyi. Since the early morning, multiple regime’s soldiers came to the location, blocked the entrance roads and forbid people from laying a wreath and paying any sort of respect to the Karen revolution leader.
In other news, this morning around 7am two sound boxes were placed just outside a hall of the Insein Prison where the political prisoners have been detained. Chants such as “We hear you, comrades. Don’t give up. We will fight till the end. Revolution must prevail” were coming from the speakers which exploded a few moments later. No injuries nor culprit has been reported. On a prison-related note, at least 38 people who had participated in the protest inside Mandalay’s Obo Prison on August 8 have been put in solitary confinement, some of them had suffered beating and torture on the very day.
On warfront, a junta’s military convoy was ambushed by the joint forces of Karenni Army (KnA) and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) in Hpruso Township of Karenni State around 10 am today. The clash took about five minutes in which five of junta’s soldiers were killed and three others were injured. The rest of the force fled clumsily and one RPG and one sniper was captured, according to KNDF. Another shootout took place on a Demoso-Hpruso road between junta’s forces and KnA around 11 am. Demoso-based junta’s unit 102 battalion randomly shelled artillery into the battle zone, instead fell into civilians’ areas and harmed at least one. KNDF has warned that more clashes are to be expected so people must be extra cautious.
In Yinmarbin Township of Sagaing Region, local PDF attacked another junta’s military convoy around 2 pm. Initial reports said there were many casualties but no exact figure has been released by either side. A truck and a small car were hit with at least seven detonated mines and junta’s soldiers retaliated by shooting randomly afterwards.
Early this morning around 6 am, a family of three from Myingyan Township of Mandalay fell victims of junta’s forces and Pyu Saw Htee group. The joint force of armed thugs attempted fires at a motorbike on the move and instead killed a child and injured the parents in the nearby house. The reason of the attack was because the motorbike was not carrying an exhaust, hence violating a simple traffic rule. The incident highlights the fact that junta’s forces and Pyu Saw Htee group were exploiting the smallest amount of the authority to the highest level. According to a local, “Pyu Saw Htee groups and Union Solidarity Development Party members have been out of control, abusing ‘power’, they even make a fuss of a household watching a television loudly.”
Protests were observed countrywide today despite the continuous junta’s extreme violence. Today’s main theme was commemorating Karen Martyr’s Day while many paid tributes to those fallen heroes who jumped off the building on August 10 and showed overwhelming support towards NUG government. Karen Martyr’s Day ceremonies online and on the streets proved that the country is not divided by the people on the ground, but by so called “governments”. And this revolution will be prevailed as long as people stay united this way.