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Anti-coup protest held at market in Yangon; Tayzar San says military cannot defeat resistance

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Anti-coup protest held at market in Yangon

A flash mob anti-coup protest was reported at an unknown location in Yangon on Jan. 19. Demonstrators held student union flags and banners with messages in Burmese that read: “From solving the general crisis to abolishing the military dictatorship” and “There must be a fight for peace.” 

The protest was organized by several organizations, including the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), the General Strike Committee (GSC), the Yangon Eastern University Students’ Union, and the Yangon Revolution Force, a group with the stated aim to fight against military dictatorship. 

The location of the protest in Yangon was not shared along with the photos on social media, but it appeared to have been taken at a busy market. A flash mob anti-coup protest that took place at a market in North Dagon Township in November led to the market’s demolition by the military. 

Tayzar San says military cannot defeat resistance

DVB sat down for an interview with Mandalay librarian and pro-democracy leader Tayzar San to discuss the progress of the country’s resistance to the military. 

“In the last three years we have shown that the military cannot win [against] the revolution. This is because of the strong desire and strong participation of the people in this spring revolution,” he said.

Tayzar San added that the Federal Democracy Charter drafted by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) offers a blueprint for a future federal democratic union. He remains inside the country laying the groundwork for a more inclusive federal democracy.

Burma second worst jailer of journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2023 Prison Census named Burma the second worst jailer of journalists in the world behind China. Fifty media workers, including eight women, are currently imprisoned. 

“Almost three years later, journalists continue to be targeted,” stated the CPJ report. Journalist and filmmaker Shin Daewe was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 10. Read more here.

News by Region

A military outpost in Hpakant Township, Kachin state was seized by Kachin forces on Jan. 20. (Credit: DVB)

SHAN—Mabein was captured by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA/KIO) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) on Jan. 21, Kachin News Group reported. “The revolutionary forces are cleaning the town,” said a PDF spokesperson. The military fired artillery and carried out retaliatory airstrikes.

Fighting between the KIA and the military is occurring in Mongmit, located 35 miles (56 kms) south of Mabein. A strategic military base in Hpakant Township was seized on Jan. 20. Fighting over the outpost began earlier this month. 

BAGO—Residents of 17 villages in Okpho Township fled their homes after receiving a warning to evacuate on Jan. 18. The military suspects them of supporting the PDF. An Okpho resident said the warning stated: “If you choose to stay, we cannot guarantee your safety.” 

CHINLAND—Thirty-nine civil society groups under the name of the Chin Civic Movement called on resistance forces to resolve any disputes arising from the Chinland Council Conference held at the Chinland National Front (CNF/CNA) headquarters from Dec. 4-7.

The conference adopted the Chinland Constitution., which includes the establishment of a parliament, government and supreme court over the next two months. The Chin Civic Movement wants to avoid any splinters in the Chin resistance. 

KAREN—The Karen National Union (KNU) stated that 195 civilians were killed due to fighting in its territory in 2023. At least 154 Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) members and PDF were killed. 

The KNU claimed that 5,005 Burma Army personnel were also killed during fighting with resistance groups in its territory, but the military has shared any death toll.

In KNU territory, 751,669 civilians have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the fighting. The KNU added that at least 1,869 homes were damaged by attacks from the military in 2023. 

MAGWAY—Gangaw Township residents said a mother and one-year-old were killed and two homes were destroyed by artillery in two villages on Jan. 20. “The [military] is targeting innocent civilians,” said a PDF member. The bodies of the victims were cremated on Sunday. 

MANDALAY—Pro-military monk Pauk Sayadaw called on Min Aung Hlaing to step down from his military duties during a demonstration against the Brotherhood Alliance in Pyin Oo Lwin on Jan. 16. 

“The commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces is more compatible with being a civilian prime minister,” said Pauk Sayadaw. The monk added that deputy Soe Win should assume the role of commander-in-chief. 

Join DVB Short Docs 2023 screening and panel discussion this Friday, Jan. 26 at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok.

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