04/15/2021, 16.15
MYANMAR
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Mandalay, killings, arrests, arson. Solidarity between Christians, Buddhists, Muslims

by Francis Khoo Thwe

A man killed in Maha Aungmyay mosque. The Muslim quarter, which protected doctors and nurses on strike for civil disobedience, burned down. Women religious and Buddhist monks rush to aid the Muslim community. A leader of demonstrations, Wai Moe Naing, was arrested in Monywa. In Yangon, trade unionist Myo Myo Aye arrested.

Mandalay (AsiaNews) - The second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay, is under attack from soldiers who want to stop the civil disobedience strike carried out by public employees, doctors, nurses and teachers.

This morning the soldiers opened fire in the Maha Aungmyay mosque, south of Mandalay. Some of the strikes’ organizers had spent the night there. A 28-year-old Muslim, Ko Htet, was killed (photo 2). With him, two other people - one of them disabled - were injured. The soldiers arrested some present, including children aged 11 and 16.

In the morning, they attacked a march of doctors and medical personnel who were about to start a demonstration and arrested 16 people.

Social media posts relay that soldiers have targeted the Muslim neighbourhood of Mandalay, where doctors, students and nurses were hiding and set houses on fire. At least 40 homes were burned down.

Yesterday afternoon, some nuns of the order of Saint Joseph of the Apparition and a group of Buddhist monks went to visit the victims of the fire and the neighbourhood, bringing food and donations for the community (photo 1).

The comments on social media are enthusiastic: "This is a sign that we are winning already No Junta can incite hatred within civilians because our hearts beat as one” “You can’t divide us by our religions coz our hearts are close." The comments allude to the past of the military dictatorship when soldiers, in the name of the unity of the nation, fought different religious and ethnic groups, pitting Christians against Buddhists, Muslims against Christians, ethnic minorities against the majority Baman ethnic group.

Meanwhile arrests multiply in all regions. This morning in Monywa (Sagaing), some plainclothes policemen arrested one of the leaders of the anti-coup protests, the 26-year-old Muslim Wai Moe Naing (photo 3). The young man was leading a march on his motorcycle when plainclothes soldiers ran him down. The gunmen also arrested a girl.

Also this morning, in Yangon, in the Nawarat market district, Myo Myo Aye (photo 4), a trade union activist, director of the Stum (Solidarity Trade Union of Myanmar) program, was arrested. Four military vehicles with about 40 soldiers carried out a raid on her office, confiscating all the cell phones of the employees. The Stum has been among the supporters of the civil disobedience strike since the first day of the coup.

In Taungyy (Shan), seven civilians were arrested; three of them were brutally beaten.

In Myitkyina (Kachin), two journalists were arrested last night.

According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, up until yesterday, 715 people were killed in the coup d'état; 3070 arrested.

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