The incredible courage of the protesters in Myanmar


Security forces killed at least 38 people and injured more than 100 in protests across Myanmar on Wednesday. At least 54 people have been killed since the military coup that dissolved Myanmar’s democratically elected parliament and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of politicians and civil activists. Protesters are calling for a reversal of the coup and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s elected civilian leader and head of the country’s most influential political party.

If the authorities believed that using live ammunition against protesters would weaken their challenge, they were wrong. Hundreds of thousands, unarmed but organized, turned out in Myanmar’s main cities day after day, demanding democracy in stirring up manifestations of civil disobedience nationwide. In some cases, they do Inspiration is taken From A year of dissent in Hong KongConstruction helmets and umbrellas are used as a temporary protection.

Women from all walks of life – from doctors to students to dressmakers – are They are ubiquitous on the front lines. In the widely circulated photos, Kayal Sen was last seen in crowds of protesters, wearing a simple black T-shirt with a simpler message: “Everything will be fine.”

But there are all indications that the situation may worsen: The military junta that orchestrated the coup is wavering, regardless of widespread international condemnation. The Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, has a bleak reputation for violence against the country’s people. He is implicated in atrocities against ethnic minorities, including allegations of genocide and systematic mass rape. In the aftermath of the coup, researchers discovered hundreds of videos circulating on social media of soldiers in uniform Threatening to slaughter ordinary citizens.

My colleague Shibani Mahtani wrote: “As the protest movement gains momentum, the Myanmar army is responding brutally, firing indiscriminately into the crowds and shooting demonstrators.” Firing to kill – targeting protesters’ heads or chests – has emerged as a crowd control tactic, with snipers picking up targets and hoping their death will cause protesters to flee and disperse the crowd.

“It now appears that the Myanmar security forces are intent on breaking the back of the anti-coup movement through brutal violence and sheer brutality.” Richard Ware said, Crisis and Conflict Researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. The use of lethal force against protesters who rescue others shows how few security forces fear accountability for their actions.

The crisis in Myanmar will be the subject of closed deliberations at the UN Security Council on Friday. It is not clear if anything fundamental will the will Exit the session. Western governments have already passed a series of sanctions targeting senior military officers, while members of the United States, the European Union and a number of European Chambers of Commerce in Myanmar have refused an invitation to meet officials in the military regime. On Thursday, Reuters reported that the top generals are in the junta Try to move about $ 1 billion in government funds The Federal Reserve Bank of New York kept it a few days after the coup, but US government officials thwarted it.

Both the White House and State Department officials denounced the violence against the protesters. US State Department spokesman Ned Price Reporters The administration is also calling China – which has Relationships are extensive, if complicated With the ruling establishment in Myanmar – “to play a constructive role in restoring the civilian-led government” in the country.

Even then, the military regime appears ready to accept a return to the pariah status it enjoyed not long ago. In a briefing with reporters, Kristin Schranner Burgner, the UN special envoy to Myanmar, spoke with the country’s deputy military commander, Soo Win, as she pressured him on the junta’s path to isolation. The answer was: We got used to sanctions and survived. ” She said. When I also warned that they would go into isolation, the answer was, ‘We have to learn to walk with only a few friends.’

In the face of escalating violence, the protesters in Myanmar must now muster up even more courage. “We may lose some heroes in this revolution,” Ma Sandar, Assistant General Secretary of the Myanmar Federation of Trade Unions, He told the New York Times. “The blood of our women is red.”

One of the weak hope is the possibility of defections and rebellions within the security forces, amid scattered reports of police officers joining the street demonstrators and the forces abandoning their regiments to avoid carrying out military council orders.

“In the absence of any popular mandate, the generals depend entirely on the repressive state apparatus to exercise power and maintain control over the civilian population,” Andrew Selth Books, Assistant Professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. If there was a serious breakdown in discipline, let alone an army rebellion, or a split between the army and police forces, they would be in real trouble. Based on past practices, they will react quickly and forcefully to crush any dissident elements. “

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