Junta seizes Mandalay hospitals and orders raids on villages
by Francis Khoo Thwe

Soldiers detonated bombs, burned motorcycles, stole valuables and arrested the inhabitants of Khin Gyi. Same situation in Shan and Kayah villages. Today the "blue shirt" campaign and day of remembrance. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military junta, will travel to Jakarta for an ASEAN meeting. Human rights parliamentarians call for invitation to government of national unity, which the junta dubbed as "outlawed".


 

Mandalay (AsiaNews) - The inhabitants of the village of Khin Gyi, in the Mandalay region, suffered a raid by army soldiers yesterday. The village is known for its opposition to the coup and villagers have been on a civil disobedience strike.

Two days ago, five military vehicles arrived in the village and detonated some bombs. Yesterday they returned setting fire to all the motorcycles and searching homes, stealing anything of value (money, gold, silver, etc. ..). In the afternoon, they returned again and arrested 40 villagers who had taken refuge in the forest in the morning.

Many other villages in the Shan, Kayah and southern areas suffer the same fate. Some villages are completely destroyed. Many inhabitants are now forced to live in the forest.

The junta's attempt is to eliminate the resistance, demonstrations and civil disobedience, which is causing the country's economy, for the most part under military control, to collapse.

Today the Mandalay Civil Hospital is surrounded by soldiers. In addition to checks they are stopping, interrogating - and arresting - all the doctors who carry out the strike.

But even this has failed to quell the uprising. A demonstration in favor of the new government of national unity (NUG) was held today in Amarapura (Mandalay). It was attended by young people, adults, Buddhist monks and nuns.

Throughout the day today on social media the "blue shirt" campaign and day of remembrance is celebrated: the demonstrators are photographed wearing a blue shirt or t-shirt and with the name of a prisoner written on their hand. The campaign is in honor of democratic activist Win Tin, who died on April 21, 2014, after being imprisoned for 19 years. On his release, he promised to always wear a blue shirt until all political prisoners were free.

According to the latest updates from the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, those arrested since the first day of the coup (February 1) are 3,261; among these there are also 20 sentenced to death. The number of people who have been killed rose to 738.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military junta, will travel to Jakarta for a meeting of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). It would be the first time that the coup leader has participated in an international rally. For many opponents in Myanmar and international observers, his participation represents official government recognition of him.

So far, ASEAN has not recognized the government of Min Aung Hlaing, but neither has it condemned it, preferring to follow the principle of "non-interference in the internal affairs" of another country. But Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have spoken out against the junta's violence on civilians.

The new government of national unity - which the junta dismisses as illegal - has asked Asean to be recognized as the true representative government of the Burmese people.

A group of "ASEAN parliamentarians for human rights" issued a statement calling for the NUG to be invited to the Jakarta meeting. "ASEAN - says the statement - cannot adequately discuss the situation in Myanmar without listening and speaking with the national unity government".

 

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