Myanmar’s Protesters Arm with Homemade Weapon

Everyday, Jab Ko goes out to perform against Win Win Kawai Myanmar Army, He supplies rocks as his slingshot and ammunition. This is a little help against the army’s heavy firepower, but he says it gives him confidence and a way to strike back.

“I know I can’t protect myself from a slingshot, because I’m facing people with guns,” he said. “When they shoot, I run.”

Mr Win Kyaw, 36, is one of the many pro-democracy protesters who have begun to breed themselves with rudimentary weapons. Military rule in myanmar. What began as a peaceful protest after the February 1 coup quickly turned into a resistance movement, with civilians defending themselves using slingshot, homemade air guns, old hunting rifles and firebombs.

In a statement this week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, Said the military’s brutal actions in the Southeast Asian nation had “prompted some to take up arms”, warning that the situation “echoes Syria in 2011” and “escalates to full-blown conflict” Had been.”

For many in Myanmar, the diversion came on 27 March, when security forces killed at least 150 people. this was it Deadliest rift since coupAccording to a human rights group tracking the killings. More than 728 people have died, and at least 3,000 have been detained.

In the hard-hitting Tharketta township of Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon, a protestor said that he and his friends had formed a team of about 20 people after the slaughter on 27 March. “We were peaceful protesters after the coup,” Ko Thoi Ha said. , 26. “But when they killed so many people, we could not move forward with a peaceful movement. We needed to fight back.”

Demonstrators often turn to YouTube to create simple weapons that rely on easy resources. For air guns, plastic pipe is used for the barrel, and a butane lighter switch acts as a trigger. The most popular ammunition is ball bearings taken from bicycle wheels, but protesters also shoot marbles and plastic pellets. Homemade smoke bombs are usually made with ammo or potassium nitrate, a component of fertilizer.

Both air guns and smoke bombs are more defensive than offensive. The aerial gun is not fatal, but it can hit a target 100 feet away. The protesters used it to push the troops forward very quickly. When protesters need to flee, they use smoke bombs to shield themselves from view as they retreat into hard hats and goggles.

Code words have come up to describe various maneuvers used on the front lines with improvised weapons. “Biryani cook”, a popular rice dish, means making weapons. “Giving Biryani to guests” is like shooting weapons at soldiers. “Big Biryani” is an arson attack.

This month at Kalay, located about 150 miles northwest of Yangon, a team used its aerial cannons and single-shot hunting rifles when the army led the attack. Calling themselves the Kalay Civil Army, the resistance fighters set up barricades made of sandbags and prepared their temporary weapons on the edge of the city.

When the soldiers arrived at dawn and ordered the city to remove the barricades, the Kalay Civil Army refused. The soldiers returned at 10 am and opened fire with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. At least 11 townspeople were killed, and 18 were arrested. Before closing their prisoners, the soldiers lined them up for a serious group photograph with seized weapons.

The defeat of the Kalaya Civil Army sent a clear message from the army that those who took up arms and organized such tactics would be crushed. About a month before the Calle Civil Army was organized, a group of elected leaders formed an alternative government, declaring that the people had the legal right to defend themselves against the Tatmad, as in Myanmar. The army knows. Fighting the junta, officials said, is not a crime.

In addition to Kalay, the military has targeted other pockets of resistance where residents have been armed with rudimentary weapons. Security forces deployed in Bago city this month Attacked a similar group With rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, at least 82 were killed.

State-owned news outlets have blamed expelled elected leaders and a “chaotic mob” for the escalating violence in Myanmar. In other countries where pro-democracy movements have gained momentum in recent years, authorities have also justified the sharp attack by pointing demonstrators with weapons.

In Yangon this month, there were several arson attacks at police stations and government offices, as well as small explosions that caused very little damage and no one was injured. If the protesters were to succeed in procuring large-scale lethal weapons, some of Tatmadaw’s experts fear strong reprisals.

Anthony Davis, a Bangkok analyst who writes for Jane’s Group of Military Publications, said the generals saw themselves acting with restraint, with the response growing proportionately.

“People talked about Tatmadov’s cruelty, which is undeniable,” he said. “But we are talking about 500 people in two months, not 5,000. It could have been more easily. By their own twisted standards, there is no doubt that they are trying to check the escalation of violence. “

Among the protesters’ home weapons, the deadliest is the firebomb.

“Once you see firearms and grenades toward the protesters, Tatmadaw’s gloves will take off,” Mr. Davis said. “At that point, they would not hesitate to blow the houses down. Tatmadaw will respond immediately and immediately. “

While the army is equipped with rocket propelled grenades, machine guns and Chinese-made surveillance droneThe slingshot has become the weapon of choice for many protesters. They are cheap and easy to conceal, and can be removed quickly from concealment. For ammunition, some buy glass marbles or smooth stones which have been collected for this purpose. When ammunition runs low, there are usually a lot of rocks around.

Until some time ago, catapult was most common in rural areas, where cowboys often used it to fly their cattle. A skilled shooter can pick up a mango from a higher branch.

After the protest began, the catapult appeared in the hands of the police for the first time. Videos taken by residents showed groups of officers roaming the streets at night, frantically firing at people, homes and windows. As the demonstrations intensified, the police traded their slingshot for rifles while the protesters took them in large numbers.

Last month, when Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin visited Myanmar, junior leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing showed him an exhibition of items seized from the protesters. A video of the encounter shows the typical performance for Mr. Fomin how a catapult works.

“Pull back to shoot,” he said.

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