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A New Burma hosts arts event ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’; Regime says women not to be conscripted into military

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

A New Burma hosts arts event ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ 

Creative arts collective A New Burma held its second annual event ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ at RX Cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand Feb. 22-24. It featured the aptly titled “For the love of coming home,” an exhibit created by seven artists from Burma now living in exile in Thailand.

Twelve documentary films made before the 2021 military coup were screened Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, a concert featured eight performances, including Mun Awng, a singer-songwriter and pro-democracy activist whose music has provided a soundtrack to each previous democratic uprising in 1988, 1996 and 2007. 

A market with food vendors and stalls selling crafts made by artists from Burma was set up outdoors at RX Cafe. Watch this 2023 interview with A New Burma lead organizer Hnin Yee and our feature report on last year’s event. Stay tuned to DVB English News on YouTube for more on this year’s event. A New Burma was established by exiles from Burma in February 2022.

More than 7,000 in Yangon apply for Thai visas

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke said that the Thai embassy in Yangon has doubled online queue tokens to meet the demand and is fully booked until March 1. More than 7,000 Burma nationals have applied for visas. 

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has warned Burma nationals to come to Thailand legally or face prosecution. Applications for passports and visas to travel abroad have surged since the military conscription law was announced on Feb. 10.

A member of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force during a training exercise in Karenni State (Credit: KNDF)

Regime says women not to be conscripted into military

Military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told regime media on Feb. 21 that women will not be enlisted under the conscription law. “I want to clarify that there is no ongoing plan to recruit women,” he said. 

Military conscription was announced on Feb. 10. It stipulates that men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 must serve two years or face a punishment of up to five years in prison. 

Zaw Min Tun added that out of the six million men eligible to serve in the military, only one percent are expected to be conscripted for “national defense duties.” He blamed the media and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) for spreading rumors about the conscription law which has caused “panic among the public.”  

News by Region 

BAGO—At least 20 people were arrested at hotels and guesthouses during guest list inspections in Pyay on Feb. 22. “All the individuals arrested were middle-aged and ethnic Rakhine,” a Pyay resident told DVB. 

KACHIN—The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed to have taken control of Myo Hla town and two military bases in Shwegu Township on Feb. 23. 

The KIA issued a letter warning Burma Army troops, stationed at the two bases, to surrender on Feb. 19. The troops had reportedly abandoned the camps on Thursday. The two bases hosted over 200 military personnel. 

The 77th Mon National Day was held in Kamawet, Mudon Township, on Feb. 25 (Credit: Kamawet Mudon Information)

MON—The 77th Mon National Day was held across the state and in Hpa-An, Karen State, on Feb. 25. An event was also held across the border in Mae Sot, Thailand. Mon National Day commemorates the establishment of Hanthawaddy Kingdom (located in present day Bago Region) since 1947.

NAYPYIDAW—The regime’s Ministry of Information announced on Feb. 23 that it will take legal action against content creators who produce music or videos that “defies Burmese culture and is unsuitable for family viewing.” Under this new directive, starting Aug. 1, all content creators will be required to register with the ministry. 

SAGAING—Four Chin National Defense Force (CNDF) soldiers, including the Assistant Chief of Staff Salai David New, were reportedly killed during fighting in Kalay Township Feb. 22-23. “We are trying to retrieve the bodies,” said a CNDF member. Kalay residents said that three civilians were also killed by artillery. 

SHAN—Around 400 people, including Thai and Chinese nationals, were arrested in raids on suspected cyber scam centers in Tachileik on Feb. 22. “The army and police usually take bribes to allow these operations, but they have now carried out arrests,” a resident told DVB. 

Read our latest op-ed: Rohingya refugees seek justice at India’s High Court. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow our Podcast.

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