Opposition to military junta continues

Civilians and soldiers continue to clash. Two journalists were sentenced to two years in prison for spreading fake news. Anti-regime forces open up to the Rohingya. The head of the military government and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross meet without results.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Opposition to the military regime that seized power in February continues non-stop.

Two members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, were beaten and arrested yesterday morning at their home in Sein Pan Ward, Mandalay Region.

Lawyer Thet Tun Oo, who represents people imprisoned for organising anti-government protests in Myitkyina (Kachin State), was also detained by the military yesterday after he testified at a court hearing inside Myitkyina Prison.

Dr Tayzar San, one of the most important figures in the anti-junta movement, also took part in the protests. An arrest warrant has been issued against him and a reward of 10 million kyat (about US$ 6,000) has been offered for information leading to his arrest.

Clashes between civilians and soldiers continue in various Myanmar cities. On Wednesday, a  19-year-old man died from a gunshot to the forehead in Mobye Town, southern Shan State. Another person was seriously wounded by soldiers. Two explosions were reported near schools in Aye Tharyar, Shan State.

A military court yesterday sentenced two journalists arrested in March and April. Aung Kyaw of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and freelance reporter Zaw received a two-year prison sentence for reporting on the protests that broke out after the military coup.

Since February, 87 journalists have been arrested with 51 still detained. Aung Kyaw and Zaw were imprisoned under Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code, which was amended after the coup and now criminalises comments and opinions that cause fear or spread fake news.

Since the coup, the military junta has arrested 5,652 people and killed 845, according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

The Government of National Unity, which includes deposed NLD lawmakers and representatives of ethnic groups, has promised to repatriate and grant citizenship to the Rohingya who join the movement to remove the military.

Junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing met yesterday with Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“People in Myanmar are in need of urgent assistance and protection,” said Maurer who discussed “the use of force during security operations” and made the case for better humanitarian access to conflict areas and for the resumption of Red Cross prison visits.

Min Aung Hlaing was “noncommittal” towards Maurer’s requests.