Freedom Memoirs – Day 364

As we head towards the anniversary of the day the military rudely took control of our country and turned everything upside down, people are gearing up for silent strike; the military is busy arresting anyone who urged others to join the strike both online and offline, and the resistance groups are retaliating by killing pro-military supporters who are forcing people not to join the strike. This is the kind of cycle that people of Myanmar have to deal with now as everyone prepares for life in Year 2 under Min Aung Hlaing’s regime.
 
The military council’s information team revealed on January 28 that a total of 14 people have been arrested for inciting unrest in the country. Today, the beer stations and alcohol shops in Nay Pyi Taw and Pyinmana were threatened by the military council to not join the silent strike, or that they will have their liquor license revoked and face legal actions. In North Oakkalpa Township of Yangon, regime’s forces raided Lann Clinic in an attempt to arrest the owner Kaung Htet Naing for refusing their order to open business on February 1. Thankfully, the doctor narrowly escaped arrest but his father was instead taken. On the other hand, the resistance groups in Bago and Mandalay regions have been targeting the military informants and members of military’s militia Pyu Saw Htee members who have been spreading propaganda not to join the strike or planning pro-military rally in places like Natalin Town in Bago and Nyaung-U towns in Mandalay.
 
Amid all of these, the general public, activists and youths continued to urge everyone to join the silent strike on February 1 to show solidarity with everyone who is in exile; running for their lives; being internally displaced in bad conditions; and our resistance brothers and sisters who take up arms to defy the military rule for the rest of us. Today, youths from conflict regions such as Magway Region’s Myaing Township and Yangon city marched the streets to encourage the residents to join the silent strike and that giving up is not an option for us. With the march, they issued three proclamations for our revolution—February 1 is the one-year anniversary of the people’s revolution which had turned bloody. February 2 is claimed as the day everyone takes up pots and pans to bang out our defiance voices against military rule. February 3 is claimed as the day people continued to resist the dictatorship in protests.
 
We have seen how the junta forces attack unarmed innocent youths who went out on the streets to protests before, and every time we see people risking their lives and everything they have, we are in awe of their bravery and their tenacity.
 
In resistance wars going on across the country, Lin Ka Taw Police Station from Magway Region’s Myaing Township was reportedly raided by the local People’s Defense Forces on January 29. A coalition of PDFs from Myaing, Yesagyo and Salingyi townships attacked the police station which resulted in 45-minute of shooting back and forth against the junta police. In the aftermath, the police fled the station and reportedly left all of their family members behind. A total of 13 police’s families were arrested, but Major Cross from Myaing-PDF told Myanmar Now that they just released them after encouraging them not to continue supporting the military. In Mandalay Region, Kyaukse District-PDF said it managed to attack the security outpost at the entrance of Kyaukse which had been stopping the civilians’ vehicles as security checks but in reality, was extorting money. Their attack occurred today’s morning around 11am, resulting in the casualty of one junta soldier and critically injuring two traffic police.
 
This morning, Tamu-PDF and the junta forces were reported to have clashed for an hour in between Tamu and Kalay town on the border of India and Myanmar. An hour of fighting reportedly killed three junta soldiers, including an officer, Major Zeekwat, the commander of Battalion 3 of Tamu PDF told Myanmar Now. Currently, both sides are hiding out in the surrounding area, and the situation is reportedly still tense. In another part of Sagaing Region’s Kalay Town, due to the ongoing clashes between the junta forces and Chinland Defense Force for ten days straight, over 2,000 residents from seven villages located along the road between Kalay-Tedim have been displaced. Some were internally displaced in nearby forests and some had to flee to Rikhawdar town on India’s side. The residents were also scared to go back home as the junta troops were still stationed in some of the villages, one IDP told RFA Burmese.
 
In Karen State’s Hpapun Township, the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Brigade No.5 made an announcement today, asking the civil servants working for the military council to leave the township between February 1 and 10. The official statement, dated January 29, said this is an attempt to ensure the military council administration could not function in KNU’s areas, and if the junta staff failed to comply, actions will be taken against them. KNLA Brigade No.5 spokesperson Pado Mann told Myanmar Now that the warning was issued because the military council was sending new staff to the area controlled by the 5th Brigade of KNLA. Many government staff in Hpapun have already joined the civil disobedience movement, but the junta kept on sending new employees to replace the CDM staff.
 
Today, the National Unity Consultative Council, a coalition of deposed MPs, ethnic armed organisations and anti-military groups, held a press conference today a few days after its first three-day virtual “people’s congress” on January 27. The General Strike Committee said during the press conference today that a working committee is being formed to draft a federal constitution. Discussions are underway on the policies, fundamental rights and drafting the federal constitution by the working committee, Toe Kyaw Hlaing, a member of the General Strike Committee also revealed during the press conference. He said that in order to draft the federal constitution, the committee has been reviewing the second draft of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued on February 12, 2008.
 
The three-day “people’s congress” also issued a 10-point statement calling for the military junta to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court and also called on the international community and the United Nations for the establishment of sage havens in Karen, Karenni and Chin states, and Sagaing and Magway regions which continued to be targeted with airstrikes and the use of excessive force on the ground by the junta forces. The next convention is scheduled to be held in the next six months. Here’s to hoping that all of these conferences, meetings and statements by the National Unity Government and its associates actually come into fruitions soon, and managed to protect the vulnerable population in conflict-ridden regions who continued to live in despair every single day under the control of the arms-welding junta soldiers.

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