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Burma observes ‘Silent Strike’ to boycott anniversary of 2021 coup; NUG claims 2,894 civilians have been killed by the Burma Army

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Burma observes ‘Silent Strike’ to boycott anniversary of 2021 coup

People in Burma marked the second coup anniversary with a nationwide “silent strike,” where people stay home and don’t go to work. Pictures of deserted roads circulated on social media. There were no reports of violence. The strike was observed in Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, even in towns. Protestors managed to hang a banner in Yangon amidst tight security. It read: “This revolution will undoubtedly be successful if you participate yourself.” Meanwhile, a pro-military rally was held in front of Yangon City Hall, with security provided by pro-regime forces.

Protests against the coup took place in Thailand. Hundreds gathered in front of the Burma Embassy in Bangkok and the United Nations headquarters in Thailand. The crowd chanted slogans such as “Our country has been looted. Return it back to us. Return it back to us.” They raised their hands in a three-finger salute and sang a popular anti-coup song, “Blood Oath” (Thway Thitsar). 

NUG claims 2,894 civilians have been killed by the Burma Army

At least 2,894 civilians have been killed and more than 1.5 million have been displaced due to Burma Army attacks since the coup, the NUG claimed. The NUG held a virtual meeting to commemorate the second anniversary of the Spring Revolution, which began with anti-coup protests in the days following Feb. 1. It reported that 279 children, 447 women and 70 health workers were among those killed. A total of 62,399 houses and 163 religious buildings have been burned down by the Burma Army in the last two years. At least 288 civilians were killed and 377 were injured in 654 regime airstrikes since 2021.

Activists projected images on the side of the UN Secretariat building in New York

The international community marks two years since coup in Burma

The UK imposed sanctions on two companies and two individuals for providing fuel to the Burma Air Force. “The UK has led a strong, coordinated international response to support the people of Myanmar, their democratic demands and right to fundamental freedoms,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Twenty nations, including South Korea, issued a joint statement calling for the return of democracy in Burma. “We reiterate our call for the return of Myanmar to a democratic path. The military regime must end violence and create space for meaningful and inclusive dialogue to allow for any democratic process to resume,” the statement said. 

News by Region

BAGO—Prison authorities in Taungoo Prison refused to provide an extra blanket to the ousted President Win Myint after he requested one due to the cold weather, according to a letter from the prison. “He lives with a bed, blanket, pillow and a mat in the building. He is cut off from the outside world. They did not even give him coconut oil for his hair,” the letter stated. Lawyers and the president’s relatives tried to meet with him on Jan. 23, but prison officials denied he was being held inside, according to a source with knowledge of the incident. Win Myint received a total of 12 years in prison for incitement, corruption, and for violating the Natural Disaster Management and Election Laws. He was moved to a separate building in Taungoo Prison from Naypyidaw Prison on Jan. 14.

MANDALAY—The Burma Army threatened to take action against shop owners that closed to participate in the ‘Silent Strike’ on Feb. 1 in Mogok town market, according to locals. The normally crowded market was deserted as vendors and customers observed the strike. “All of the shops in the market were closed this morning. The policemen pointed their guns at the shops and told the owners to reopen,” a local said. Residents across the town also joined the strike by staying inside their houses.

SAGAING—The junta’s Central Committee for Counter-Terrorism (CCCT) sent a message via the telecoms operator ATOM (formerly Telenor) on Jan. 31 that said supporting “terrorist groups” will be punished “in accordance with the law,” according to a resident of Sagaing Region. “They would like to warn mobile phone users not to support resistance forces because I think they are scared of the revolution,” the resident added. The majority of people in Sagaing are using MPT and ATOM mobile operators, but MPT users did not receive this message, according to them. The junta has shut down mobile and internet services especially when it conducts offensives in the region, slowing down the flow of the information.

Thousands of residents in six villages of Shwebo and Khin-U townships said that they have been forced to flee due to the Burma Army’s arson attacks since Jan. 30. The Burma Army fired artillery at the villages and set fire to them despite the lack of fighting in the area. The exact damages are still unknown. The displaced residents are in need of food and supplies. There are around 24,000 displaced residents in Khin-U Township alone, according to aid workers. Around 60 villages were torched and 3,000 houses were destroyed in Khin-U Township since the coup, according to locals.

Homalin People’s Defense Force (PDF) attacked three military outposts in Shwe Pyi Aye town, Homalin Township on Feb. 1. “We simultaneously attacked three military outposts that morning. They abandoned the outposts and suffered many casualties. We seized 90 percent of the area but in the evening, a helicopter opened fire at us and aided their troops. The fighting is ongoing,” a PDF spokesperson said. Witnesses said the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA) assisted the Burma Army, but the SNA denied the accusation. Last year, the PDF had battles with pro-regime forces, including the SNA, in Homalin Township.

In collaboration with DW Asia, DVB English presents the story of Chef Trish, founder of Bamama Cooks, who uses Burmese food to create community. DVB English is on-demand via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Substack, and all major podcast apps.

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