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#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar - Day 43


This is the summary for day 43 of the #MyanmarCoup and night 30 of consecutive internet blackouts and day 2 of mobile internet blackout. So far, at least 2,182 people have been arrested, charged, or sentenced and at least 202 have been killed by security forces. The big stories of the day are ways in which the military junta is using the judicial system to persecute dissent and statements from leading monastic organizations signaling their displeasure with the tactics of the regime.

Armed riot policemen charge after firing teargas a rubber bullets as anti-coup protesters abandon their makeshift barricades and run in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo)

Tatmadaw - Day 43 saw the sentencing of 10 civil servants who have participated in CDM. At least 50 civil servants have been arrested since the beginning of the coup, and many more are now in hiding. Worryingly, the declaration of martial law in 12 townships in Myanmar means that the military can convene military tribunals in which civilians can be tried by the military and potentially be sentenced to death. The elected government’s special envoy to the UN, Dr. Sasa, has been charged with treason by the junta. Additionally, the regime has seized 4 million USD of assets from the Open Society Foundation and detained one of the employees, on charges of the organization supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement. Security forces have also been singling out a Yangon township, Hlaingtharyar, for an especially vicious crackdown. Martial law has been declared there, and tens of thousands have been fleeing and dozens are feared dead. Though without mobile internet, these figures are difficult to confirm.

CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement) - The State Sangha Maha Nayaka, the highest Buddhist authority in Myanmar and a famously conservative organization, has drafted a statement that they will stop their activities and call on the military to stop harming civilians. The Saffron Sangha Network, a more progressive organizations of monks who participated in the 2007 popular uprising against the military, also put out a statement stating that they would refuse to accept alms from the military if they continued to violently suppress dissent. While monks have been participating in the CDM, both in groups and as individuals, these statement represents a real threat to the junta that they will be seen as actively working against Buddhism should they continue in their violent suppression of the CDM. These moves by monks in leadership positions also signals to all monks in the country that they may participate in the movement without being seen as participating in “worldly” affairs. As the crackdowns continue, India has seen over 400 people from Myanmar seeking refuge, including police officers and now firefighters, who have left the force after refusing to turn their hoses onto protestors.

Emerging Stories - The Chinese government has asked State Owned Enterprises in Myanmar to pull out all non-essential staff from the country following a weekend in which over 37 million USD of property damage was done and multiple staff were injured during a crackdown in Hlaingtharyar in Yangon. There has been rising anti-Chinese sentiments in Myanmar, as many see China as being supportive of the military regime. Protestors are accusing security forces of starting the fire, and security forces have used the fires as justification for a crackdown that killed dozens of people in that township in one day.


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