Freedom Memoirs – Day 279

These days, women protesters across the country came out with banners and chants that read, “We wear whatever we want, that doesn’t give you a right to rape” and “We reject rapist army, fascist army”. Myanmar women have been in forefront of the Spring Revolution, but still, women are being assaulted and harassed by regime soldiers. On November 4, Mizzima News published the letter it received from a woman in Taninthayi Region. The woman wrote that women in her region were groped, as well as verbally harassed by junta soldiers at security check points. The writer herself was asked by junta soldiers to sleep with them, or otherwise she would not be allowed to cross the bridge. Luckily, another soldier showed up and let her go for this time. This is just one case, and there could be many others that went unreported. 

Women continued to be bullied by the regime soldiers in different ways. Today, DVB News reported that regime forces in Myaing Township, Magway Region, used women as human shields while they attacked Myaing People Defense Force (PDF). Regime soldiers used private cars and made women stand in front of them while they opened fire at the resistance fighters, according to the spokesperson of Myaing PDF who escaped from the shootout. One good news came for Myanmar women is that Ma Kay Zune Nway, Myanmar Now reporter who was detained in Insein Prison for months, was nominated for the Prize for Courage award by Reporters Sans Frontieres.

Meanwhile, junta soldiers continue their violence in Ayardaw and Taze townships of Sagaing Region. DVB News reported that about 200 troops of regime forces entered War Yaung village on November 5, abducted 20 villagers and beaten them up. On the same day in Taze Township, due to two bomb blasts in early morning, regime soldiers shot and killed Ko Htike, who, purified drinking water business owner who had just returned from the delivery. Another woman named Ma May Zin Kyaw, a mother of a 2-year-old daughter, was also killed due to indiscriminate shooting by the regime soldiers in Taze on the same day.

In another part of Sagaing Region, a clash broke out between local PDF group and regime forces this morning but due to the imbalance forces, the PDF group had to retreat. In the aftermath, regime forces shelled heavy artilleries to villages  starting around 9am. A local villager told Myanmar Now that about 50 shells were launched and the random shootings did not stop until 12pm. Due to the artillery shelling, villagers from five villages in Kyun Hla Township fled from their homes.

In Ayeyarwaddy Region, five volunteers from social welfare group and eight civilians were abducted by junta soldiers in Wakhema Township. On the night of November 1, the patrol of Wakhema Township Association U Win Tin, volunteers U San Win, and Ko Aung San were detained by junta soldiers. Again on November 6, Ko Hlaing Min Tun from Wakhema Township Association, and Ko Ye Win Hlaing from We Met Team social welfare group were detained. Due to the arbitrary arrests, social welfare groups in the town are in hiding, as reported by Khit Thit Media.

As the armed resistance accelerate, junta soldiers have been defeated miserably in some areas. Khit Thit Media reported that a total of 90 junta soldiers were killed on November 4 and 5, and Sagaing and Magway regions saw 52 deaths of junta soldiers on November 5 alone. The raging war is witnessed in almost entire country. Yangon Region PDF announced that the group launched attack at regime soldiers in Kwanchangone Township last night, killing seven and injuring 13 junta soldiers. The PDF group also announced that the attack was a part of “Pyan Hlwar Aung” military operation, and more military operations should be expected in Yangon Region. 

PDFs receive overwhelming support from the public since citizens have to put up with the regime soldiers’ assaults on a daily basis. Hence, the regime has been arresting people in the name of “supporting PDFs”. Around 9pm last night, owner of Myint Myint Khin, famous traditional snack brand from Mandalay, was arrested by junta soldiers. His house was also raided prior to the arrest. This is not the first time rich businesses people are being targeted. The owner of famous mohinga shop Myaung Mya Daw Cho and her son were arrested for “taking part of KBZ Bank robbery”, and in earlier months of the coup, a family member of another popular local dessert and bakery Shwe Pazun was arrested for “shooting the American Center”. Many believe that the regime arrested rich families in order to extort money from them. 

Keeping the spirit of revolution, protests are still staged in various parts of the country after six months. Today, protests were observed in Hpakant Township of Kachin State, Taze, Shwebo, Yinmabin and Sarlingyi townships in Sagaing Region, Sangha protests in Mandalay City, and guerrilla protest in Yangon, just to name a few. November 8 will mark one year of 2020 General Election which was discarded by Min Aung Hlaing’s army for “election fraud”. The National Unity Government (NUG) plans to host an online rally tomorrow to support the 2020 election result on Sunday. A year ago, Myanmar people came out to polling stations amidst Coronavirus to exercise their rights as citizens, and it is so unfortunate that we have to continue calling the regime to respect our votes to this day.

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