To fight or hide: Myanmar grips fear with military back in charge

Red balloons sprang up in a worried city. They float by hundreds atop the golden peak of Sule Pagoda in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon, and swept away on an avenue where, more than a dozen years ago, soldiers shot civilians marching peacefully for democracy .

Balloons hovering over Yangon were released by activists, expressing their hope that the elected leader Detained in a military coup Will be free again. The color – later sold pink, red balloons – was the symbol of the National League for Democracy Party, which led the civil government until Monday Dau ang san suu ki on its head.

As of Saturday, the balloons were not enough, and the familiar stages of the protesters resumed in the city. As armed police officers stood behind the shield of the riots, the marchers called for the “rise of democracy, topple military dictatorship” and once again protested the prison sentence.

With the generals suddenly coming to power, the people of Myanmar have crossed the military again – and are increasingly shut out of the world. Although led by Put, Senior general min ang hlingThe army chief, himself bloodless, has resorted to familiar tactics in those days: dozens of arrests, beatings by mysterious thugs, telecommunications hideouts and, at the moment, social media bans targeting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A whole class of people, poets, painters, journalists, and rap artists among them – have gone into hiding.

As officers of the Special Branch, the dreaded intelligence service, knocked on the doors, the muscle memory of living under direct military rule for almost half a century – left glimpses, glances right, nowhere to bend for long – people both Resorted to camouflage and cunning. Reflexis may have been rusty, but they quickly kicked off during this new, uncertain era of terror.

Balloons and marches were among hundreds of acts of rescue by a population whose DNA is encoded with vigilance with resistance. Each day growing street dissatisfaction, as well as moments of civil disobedience that are subtle, are powerful, which can test people’s limits and be said to be.

Thousands marched in Yangon in hard hats and face masks on Saturday at the biggest rallies after the coup. But the world could not see. The live social-media feeds of the protests were abruptly shut down as mobile internet and then disrupted broadband services across the country, as if they were during the coup.

Also on Saturday, in Mandalay, a convoy of hundreds of cars and motorcycles pledged their support for the protest movement through the city at night. Soldiers and police officers stood with their weapons.

Since the coup, Myanmar has resumed with cities Dinner utensils, pans, watches and empty water jugs, A traditional send-off to the devil who, in this case, wears the army green.

The generals got busy this week. According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, more than 130 officials and lawmakers were detained in the early hours of Puch, according to the aid group Association for Political Inmates, which focuses on Myanmar’s political detainees.

Dr. who took part in the protests Marlar said, “I will keep doing this until Dwarf Min Aung Hling dies.” “I will fight until I die.”

On an offshore natural gas platform, workers are branded in orange jumpsuits Red ribbon in support of the National League for Democracy. More than 500 instructors at Yangon University wanted to join the campaign, but activists produced only 200 ribbons. Doctors posed with three fingers raised in a rebellious gesture from the films “Hunger Games”. The entire staff of the Ministry of Welfare resigned.

On Monday, the day of the coup, Surgeon Dr. A daughter was born to Si Thu Kyo. The 34-year-old doctor greeted his newborn baby and then led a civil disobedience campaign among the medical staff.

“We went through life out of fear of military junta but we won’t let it happen to the next generation,” he said. “We are not afraid of the army. We are not afraid of their weapons. If we get acquainted, it seems that we are in the morgue. We need to fight back. “

The generals may have held Myanmar under their control for nearly 50 years, but they held power A country that has changed significantly in the last decade. In 2007 in Yangon city, blood was seeping into the burgundy robbers of Buddhist monks who were shot dead by soldiers, while another crushed the protests. There are hidden flip-flop signs on the bullets running round and round. The nation was mostly unplugged back then, with mobile phone cards available only to those who could pay $ 3,000. Whispering news aired in tea shops.

Today, on the same streets, there are skyscrapers and shopping malls, billboards of iPhones and cafes suited to Instagram. It often seems that the whole of Myanmar is on Facebook. Shortly after the Ministry of Transport and Communications blocked the social media site, according to a tech research firm, the use of virtual private networks to circumvent the ban increased by 6,700 percent. Twitter and Instagram followed Bain.

By Friday, the Civil Disobedience Campaign had harnessed the energy of students and even some soldiers. Sarcastic memoirs and protest art have proliferated. A national association believed to have various spirits and wizards who inhabit the country, representing the interests of Nat and Visa, said it would cast spells on the couplers. The organization came into existence after Monday’s military takeover.

Being fed up with the light of their phones, some youngsters are shocked. Panda-eyed generations, as they call themselves, mount wiggles night after night.

On Facebook, senior general Than Shwe, a grandson of the former junior leader, posted a sticker of bouncing teddy bear bottles in support of someone who retired. “Stay strong,” he also posted with heart and muscular-arm emojis. “you will never Walk alone.”

Thousands of people “liked” Facebook campaigns boycotting a beer company and a mobile phone operator who are part of the military’s vast business empire. Another Embargo is targeting a member of the army’s new cabinet that owns gold and diamond shops.

The hashtag #savemyanmar has attracted millions of supporters and even pop singer Rihanna sent her prayers for the citizens of the country.

But if resistance becomes faster and more sophisticated, Army still reduces its strength. On Thursday night, police picked up 21 people, who were banging utensils and drinks in Mandalay. Activists and journalists once again found themselves trapped. The generals may have delegated some power to the National League for Democracy in 2015, The party won the election in a landslide, But they did not destroy the vast security apparatus that had shut down the country for decades.

In last November’s elections, the National League for Democracy won an even more decisive mandate. But the army, which the proxy party did badly, Insisted that the election was made by deception.

It has not helped that even during the years of hybrid military-civilian rule, the number of political prisoners became larger than in the previous era of transitional military rule. The Association for Political Prisoners says that before the coup, more than 700 people were either in prison or facing trial for crimes of conscience.

The military, which has vowed to govern General Min Aung Hlaing for at least a year with a 15-member State Administrative Council report, has shown that it will use any legal excuse to shut people down.

On Wednesday, a court document confirms that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, charged An arcane refusal stemmed from walkie-talkies And other imported equipment found at her villa in Naypyidaw, the capital. President U Win Myint, who was also detained on Monday, faced a separate charge for breaking coronovirus rules to greet supporters during election campaigning last year.

The charges against the two civilian leaders may seem absurd, but they can each be kept in jail for up to three years, a warning that Myanmar can be run like a punitive state. In 2016, a poet who wrote about having a former president’s tattoo on his penis was sentenced to six months imprisonment for online defamation. During the years of direct military rule, army critics were shut down for other charges, holding foreign currency and riding on the back of a motorcycle.

It was staged before dawn on Monday, when the rosters were not yet crowded and the monks did not proceed barefoot for their morning alms. As the evening subsided after the military’s takeover, the national mood was disturbed. Who will be taken tonight?

With little information leaked about the fate of those still detained – some have been released and placed under house arrest – people are once again relying on “mouth radio” As the wave of rumors called.

“We know that protesting on the streets is very risky, but we need to do so,” said Ko Ye Win Win Aung, a protest organizer. “We cannot let democracy go backward.”

If there is a continuity in the history of Tatmadhava, as the Myanmar army knows, it is a desire to shed blood. The army crushed tens of strong protests in 1988 and 2007 Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was in the midst of house arrest allegations in 2003, The generals sent goons after his convoy, killing dozens.

And in the frontier lands of the country, Tatmadaw was killed, raped and burned. A frenzy of violence against the Rohingya, according to UN investigators, was involved in the 2017 exodus of the Muslim minority, which was carried out with the intention of genocide.

As protests escalate, some are concerned that a bloody crack is unavoidable. Yoo Tun Sheen, a Trishv driver, said he had captured Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s photo from her vehicle.

“He will still be in my heart forever,” he said.

U Win Hetin, a prominent leader of the National League for Democracy, sat at his home on Thursday waiting for his arrest.

A former army captain, who joined the opposition movement and became one of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s closest advisers, Mr. Vin Hettin spent nearly 20 years in prison. He read international economic treaties and wrote love letters to his wife while in the infamous Insein prison.

When she was released in 2010, the same year as Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, she jokingly said she was “out for now” and poked fun at others in the National League for Democracy who served less punishment. Mr. Vin Hettin became an MP in the civil government.

Around midnight, between Thursday and Friday in the shadows, soldiers and men from the special branch came for him. Now 79-year-old Mr Vin Hettin was charged with treason for criticizing the coup.

“I’ll be back,” Mr. Vin Hettin said hours ago, a shorthand for custody. “But you don’t worry. My heart is free “

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