Freedom Memoirs – Day 313

The last time everyone in Myanmar participated in “Silent Strike” was back on March 24. Since then, cities and villages in Myanmar have not been as quiet as today when people in Myanmar joined another “Silent Strike” to commemorate Human Rights Day. Despite the regime’s pressure, businesses refused to open and people refused to go out. Yangon and Mandalay were usually bustling with people, motorbikes and cars for the past few months as people had to make-ends-meet with the protests in the background. However, this morning turned out to be the exact opposite. The same trend of “Silent Strike” campaign is observed across Myanmar, from Kachin, Pyay, Mandalay, Pakokku to Dawei, Monywa and Sintkine. Despite the State Administration Council’s (SAC) attempt to dictate Myanmar as they please, the people are uniting against them. The coup has been ongoing for over 10 months, yet people’s disgust towards Min Aung Hlaing’s army only grows stronger day by day.
 
The nationwide “Silent Strike” certainly irritated the junta and its supporters. In Hledan market in Yangon, soldiers took photos of shops that were closed today, and reportedly seized the stores’ properties. Similarly in Maubin, Ayawaddy Region, regime’s soldiers captured pictures of stores closed in Aung Mingalar market, Myoma market and Kannar Market, and also arrested the market management committee member U Myo Thant and night guards. This afternoon, the soldiers released them back, and they pressured the grocery stores to re-open immediately. According to a local in Maubin, regime forces held a meeting with store owners, pressuring them to re-open the shops, or their properties would be seized. Likewise, markets in different places of Myanmar such as Hpa-an, Wakema townships also met with such threats while SAC’s soldiers, along with Municipal authorities, terrorized and looted properties of closed shops in Yangon’s Nandawon market.
 
During the “Silent Strike”, the so-called military supporters “coincidentally” came out to the streets again today in Yangon. In the afternoon, photos circulated on social media that a group of pro-military supporters were marching from Hlaing Township to Kamaryut Hledan. They were holding the flag of Myanmar and the vinyl saying that they stood against the terrorism act in support of the military. Although junta’s lackeys have shamelessly exaggerated the support they have in the country, there were only 92 people in the protest. The voices of 92 pro-military supporters were later silenced by the sound of people across Myanmar clapping their hands at 4 pm to celebrate the success of “Silent Strike.”
 
Nordic Countries have also showed their supports for the people of Myanmar today as well. Embassies of Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden have all expressed that they are standing together with the citizens of Myanmar and participated in Human Rights Day by offering 1323 roses to honor 1323 civilians that have been cruelly murdered by Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers. Embassy of Denmark shared on its Facebook Page that “Denmark will continue to support the people of Myanmar in their aspirations for democracy and human rights.”
 
Freedom of Expression is one common thing that dictators are most scared of, and in order to oppress the freedom of expression, they aggressively target media industry and arrest journalists that are reporting the real voices to the international committees. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ratings stated that Myanmar is ranked the second worst country, trailed only to China, for arresting the journalists. Based upon the data received up to December 1, 2021, more than 36 journalists have been imprisoned in Myanmar. In 2021, a record number of 293 reporters have been detained all over the world in which a quarter is from Myanmar and China combined. According to the Irrawaddy News, most local journalists were arrested on the ground for reporting, and charged under penal code 505/A.
 
Today where thousands of video records have captured the atrocious crimes committed by the junta’s army, it becomes much more difficult for SAC to gain positive image in the international community. Their crime of burning 11 villagers to death in Sagaing Region was widely condemned globally. US Embassy Rangoon released a video by Ned Price, the Spokesperson for the United States Department of State today in which Ned said “We are outraged by credible and sickening reports that the Burmese military bound 11 villagers – including children – in northwest Burma and burned them alive. ……….. We stand with the people of Burma in their aspirations for freedom, justice, and democracy and call on the military regime to end the use of violence, release those unjustly detained, address human rights abuses, and respect the will of the people.”
 
Clashes have continued across the country despite the silent strike. Delta News Agency reported that a junta’s military convoy was detonated with landmines on Monywa-Shwebo Road and at least ten soldiers were killed this morning. Local based ARA resistance force have claimed responsibility. Also in Sagaing Region, another convoy was ambushed in Sarlingyi Township and at least 20 soldiers were killed today, a local told Khit Thit Media. On the contrary, eight civilians were murdered last night in Shwebo Township. The victims were from Kyarywar Village which was regarded as NLD’s stronghold area and the murders were assumed to be committed by pro-military Pyu Saw Htee thugs. An interesting news came from Rakhine State that Arakan Army (AA) has released a statement today, warning Arakan people to stay vigilant due to the escalated signs of warfare, citing regime forces’ more frequent interferences in the region.

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