BANGKOK – “We will never give up”. It was written with flowers by the young militants of the Myanmar civil disobedience movement who today filled the portraits of their 543 heroes who died in the two months after the military coup with garlands. Among them 40 children and minors. A “flower strike”, the strike of flowers, was proclaimed in several cities with small ceremonies at crossroads and in front of bus stops where their comrades embarked on the last journey to the front, fallen at the hands of the junta soldiers who they have declared a year of emergency and shoot with impunity against defenseless citizens.
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“For the heroes who can’t go home” said another composition of marigolds and daisies. “Myanmar is bleeding” read a wreath of red roses. “Fallen, but not forgotten” commented one of the many netizens who spread an impressive amount of information and often dramatic images online from all over the Union. But this monitoring activity, to offer the world the terrifying picture of what is happening, from today risks becoming difficult if not impossible.
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In fact, Myanmar’s wireless broadband Internet services have been closed under the directive of the Ministry of Transport and Communications “until further notice”, according to reports from the local provider Ooredoo. Fixed-line fiber Internet connections still operate at reduced speeds , but most activists will continue to stay connected to the movement’s network through special apps that also work offline.
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Despite the risks of a “bloodbath” – as the UN representative for Burma warned – peaceful protests continue in numerous cities and provinces, from Mandalay to Magway, Bago and Sagaing, where a policeman who had deserted to join the movement was killed in the center of Tamu.
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But other dramatic news comes from the ethnic regions – the new focal point of future conflicts – where various armed groups have declared their intention to ally themselves against the military junta, as did the Kachin guerrillas who today attacked the company of a collaborator of the generals and the Karen, perpetrators of the massacre of 10 soldiers on March 27, followed by bloody revenge air raids against civilians. After the declarations of the RCSS separatist group “for the restoration of the Shan state”, which announced their intention to defend the disobedience movement, similar reprisals could also hit the villages of this region. An explicit letter sent by the Burmese army command to the Thai counterpart circulated today. Reassuring that no bombs would fall across the border, he announced a plan of military strikes in the southern area of the state against the RCSS.
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Terrified by the prospect of an aerial bombardment such as the one that took place on the western border between Myanmar and Karen at the end of March, more than 6,000 displaced people who have already lived for years in refugee camps along the eastern border near the Thai provinces of Chiang are preparing for the evacuation. Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Since their only safety is across the border, the Shan State Refugee Committee urgently asked the Thai government to allow their passage and offer shelter and access to humanitarian aid. Unfortunately, the precedents with the Karen exiles are not reassuring, given that the government of Bangkok has turned back thousands.
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Alarmed by the news that continues to arrive from the country, the United Nations has asked neighboring countries not to reject fleeing populations in need of help and to provide them with “refuge and assistance”. Last Wednesday, at the end of two days of discussions, the Security Council managed to draft a compromise document in order not to irritate China, which does not intend to consider the hypothesis of international sanctions such as those taken – without excessive consequences – by the United States against the owned by the military and companies associated with the regime. Despite the admonition of the Special Representative for Myanmar that “potentially significant action” by the UN is needed to avoid “an imminent bloodbath”, the final declaration merely emphasizes “the need to fully respect human rights and pursue dialogue “, asking the military to” exercise maximum restraint “.
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Meanwhile, the “shadow government” in exile – called Crhp – led by a former vice president of the NLD and other deputies of Suu Kyi’s party who escaped arrest, has prepared the draft of a constitution called “Federal Charter for Democracy”, based as says the name on administrative decentralization and of the powers distributed also to minority regions. On this basis a government of national unity should be formed that would expand the autonomy of local communities and ethnic minorities. The idea – said the representative of the Crhp at the UN – is to create the “United States of Myanmar”.
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The fate of the struggle against the dictatorship will depend on the level of involvement in this project of the regional political parties and of the related armed groups themselves (explicitly included among the allies of the disobedience movement). Even though it is expanding like wildfire, many believe it will be unlikely to outwit an army of 500,000 armed men without the support of trained guerrillas.