04/26/2021, 13.29
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Anti-junta protests push on amid anger over Asean's vague decisions

by Francis Khoo Thwe

A new form of protests today: the population is invited not to pay for electricity, loans for agriculture, not to send their children to school. The consensus reached in Jakarta by ASEAN says nothing about the release of political prisoners. The junta continues to arrest and kill.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - Groups of democracy activists decided this morning to launch a new wave of protests against the military junta and its coup.

They are asking people to stop paying for electricity, loans for agriculture, to stop sending their children to school. The new campaign should will further torpedo the national economy, already weakened by civil disobedience strikes.

The protests resumed with enthusiasm yesterday in many cities, after news of the results of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting in Jakarta on the Myanmar crisis, with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military junta participating.

The final statement from ASEAN underlined 5 points of consensus: an immediate end to the violence "on all sides"; constructive dialogue seeking a "peaceful solution in the interest of the people"; the sending of a special Asean envoy to mediate in the dialogue process; humanitarian assistance; a visit by the envoy and an Asean delegation to meet the various parties.

Many comments on social media by the population and opponents of the military regime point out that the consensus points lack a reference to the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, politicians and activists.

The final statement from ASEAN mentions that they "heard" this request, but this conclusion was not reached. According to some media, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong insisted on the release of the prisoners.

Another missing element is the recognition of the elections last November, in which Aung San Suu Kyi's party swept the polls, and that precisely this reason - because it undermines the power of the military – led to the state coup.

A third missing element is a date for the implementation of the ceasefire, the dialogue, the visit. "Dr. Sasa ", spokesman for the new government of national unity, which lives in hiding and in exile, stressed that" the results of the ASEAN meeting must be translated into facts on the ground ". Either way, he appreciates that Asean took the risk of taking care of the Burmese crisis.

For the rest, it must be said that on 24 April, the day of the Jakarta meeting, yesterday and today, in addition to the protests, the killings and arrests continued. The number of people murdered by the junta reached 745.

In Mandalay, on April 24, a young man of 22, Kaung Htet Naing, was also killed. After shooting him, the soldiers savagely beat his prone body , and finally seized the corpse (photo 3).

They include Tu Tu Tha, 49, former editor of The Irrawaddy newspaper (photo 4). On the 24th evening, she was placed under house arrest along with her 18-year-old son, her younger brother and a friend. At least 39 journalists have been arrested to date

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