Freedom Memoirs – Day 274

Today marks nine months since the forceful ousting of the civilian-elected government in February by the military. It is also the day that the military attempts to get legitimacy through reopening of schools starting from today. The State Administrative Council (SAC) told state, private and monastic schools to open, and it is reported schools in 16 townships in Rakhine have opened while a total of 46 townships in Karen, Kachin, Chin, Sagaing, Magway, Mandalay, Rakhine’s Gwa Township, Shan State’s Lashio Township remain closed due to high covid cases in the area. The SAC also attempted to reopen schools in June only to close them down in July due to Covid Third Wave that devastated the whole country. 
On the other hand, many strike committees continue to resist the SAC’s forceful reopening to grab legitimacy. Monywa’s basic education student union strike held a protest with a banner that says “don’t go to school with blood on your hands, step out of schools stepping on the military dogs” to urge students not to go to schools operated under the SAC as it would mean recognizing their legitimacy. A similar protest was also observed in Dawei’s Launglon township. Alternative education was provided by ethnic armed groups, defense forces, the National Unity Government and anti-coup protesters. In Karenni State, one-month educational training for internally displaced children was organized by the Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF). Photographs of bright faces of internally displaced children enjoying their educational activities surfaced today on social media.
At the end of month means the announcement of the winner of the state lottery. It is reported that the highest prize money is reduced to 5,000 MMK lakh (approx., 280,000 USD) as people continue to boycott the state lottery to stop revenue flowing to the military. Before the coup, the highest prize was 15,000 MMK lakh (approx., 830,000 USD). Similarly, there has been a “Blood Money Campaign” that calls for oil and gas companies, international businesses to stop working with the military-affiliated businesses, to stop revenue flowing to the SAC and to freeze all payments to the military-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). Many people also continue to boycott tax payments to the junta.
More than 160 houses including places of worship were reportedly reduced to ashes In Thantlang town of Chin State. No casualty was reported although a family who hid in a bomb shelter under their house had to be rescued by Chin Defense Force (CDF) in the evening of the incident. No single resident is left in the town, and many have left since the clashes started in September. General Strike Committee (GSC) released a statement today that the junta’s forces intentional burning of the town is a crime against humanity, a genocide, and a war crime. In Mindat town, southern Chin State, clashes occurred near Mindat-Kanpelet junctions between CDF and the regime forces which led to three regime forces dead and eight injured. SAC responded by firing heavy artillery to the area and reinforcing more troops to Mindat. Mindat Town is suffering from the regime’s “four-cuts operation” and facing food shortage.
Today in Yangon, more than 30 civilians have been arrested in Sanchaung, Pazundaung and Kyimyindaing townships since this afternoon. The regime forces fired shots to scare people and threatened the people nearby. In Pazundaung Township’s Ye Gyaw, three plain-clothed policemen dragged two young men off the private vehicle firing shots and taking them along with them including the car. In Kyimyindaing, 10 civilians sitting in a tea shop were forcefully taken by the regime forces. The rule of the military means hardship to all fabric and layers of the society. Squatters in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar township face forceful eviction from the SAC today without consideration of social welfare to them. It is reported that more squatters living along Yangon-Pathein highway are to be forcibly removed.
Around 11am in Karenni State today, the regime forces’ firing of heavy artillery in Demoso Township’s Daungan Khar ward destroyed three civilians’ homes and one storage. At 2pm, Karenni Army and Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF) launched attacks on soldiers that had stationed themselves in Htulwibilar ward. The battle lasted until 5pm and killed eight members of the regime forces with one PDF member injured. The regime forces have reinforced more troop members and stationed themselves in wards of the town and at Moebye and Hpruso towns.
In Myaing Township, Magway, a police car was detonated with a mine resulting in one policeman injured. This morning in the same town, the regime forces shot one internally displaced person to death and arrested 15 more. The locals alleged that the regime’s reckless behavior on these areas without armed groups reflects their escape from having to go to other areas with strong presence of PDF in Sagaing. In Sagaing’s Kanbalu township, a villager named U Thein Lin arrested on October 30 was tortured to death and his body was dumped in the farm the next day. Similarly, four civilians accused of being PDF members were also arrested in Pekhon town, border town of Shan and Karenni State.
Besides political and economic problems, Myanmar is not without environmental problems. It continues to suffer from Climate Change and environmental distress. In eastern Shan State, due to heavy rain this morning, Tachilek, a border town to Thailand’s Mae Sai, is flooded with several houses under water. Shan North also suffered from heavy rain and flood in September. Myanmar is one of the countries that is expected to have major negative impacts with the rising temperature and is extremely vulnerable to Climate Change. Yet, it is not a problem Myanmar can afford to face now with the current political climate and economic struggle.

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