04/29/2021, 15.22
MYANMAR
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Kidnappings, arrests, beatings by the junta against the 'terrorism' of the people

by Francis Khoo Thwe

Protests continue in Dawei, Namti, and Kalay. More and more people are being kidnapped or go missing in Dawei, Mogok, Sat Kalay, and Monywa. The junta accuses ordinary people of undermining the country’s stability and economy, but it is increasingly accused of crimes against humanity.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Thousands of people today took part in a general strike in Dawei against the military junta.

The latter has continued to commit atrocities and mass crimes against defenceless and unarmed civilians since it took power in a coup (picture 1).

Some UN experts have begun to refer to the military’s actions as “crimes against humanity“, charging the security forces with “killings, imprisonment, persecution and other crimes”.

In addition to protesters killed or shot in the head by snipers, activists engaged in strikes and acts of civil disobedience in defence of democracy are being abducted, arrested or simply go missing.

In Dawei (Myaungpalae, Tenasserim), two brothers (pictures 2 and 3) were kidnapped this morning at 6 am, their whereabouts unknown. Five more people were taken in Mogok leaving no traces. All of these activists were hiding in a Buddhist meditation centre.

Seven people were seized in Sat Kalay (Pyapon, Ayeyarwady). Soldiers opened fire at anyone who resisted, fatally wounding one man, Ko San Paw, who died before he could reach a hospital.

On Tuesday, the mother of a judge, U Kaung Myat Thu, from the Chaung-U Court in Monywa (Sagaing), was arrested.

The judge is one of the foremost members of the civil disobedience movement. When soldiers didn't find him at home, they violently beaten his mother and took her away to an unknown location.

For the junta, anti-coup d'état protesters and pro-democracy activists are “terrorists” who are undermining the “stability” and economy of the country. To justify this definition, a military spokesman listed the acts of violence carried out by ordinary people.

Today news is dominated by a rocket attack against an air base in Magway, a city in central Myanmar. The rockets did not cause any major damage, nor casualties. No one claimed responsibility.

Rockets were also fired in Meiktila, also without material damage or casualties. Blasts were reported at a weapons storage facility near Bago, but the incident was not mentioned in any briefing.

Meanwhile, after its Jakarta meeting, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for dialogue and an end to violence “from all sides” in Myanmar.

For its part, the junta said that it would only engage in dialogue when it can guarantee “stability”, that is, after it finished off the movement for civil disobedience and democracy.

This is not likely to happen very soon as protests continue in different parts of the country, including Namti, Kachin State, and Kalay, Sagaing (picture 4).

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