Thousands of people rallied in Myitkyina for the second time this week on Thursday to demand an end to Burmese army offensives against ethnic armed groups in Kachin State and around the country.
The rally in the Kachin State capital began around 8am at the town’s Manau festival grounds, where a similar gathering took place on Monday. The participants, estimated to number in the thousands, later marched through the streets of Myitkyina chanting slogans calling for peace.
The rally was held with official permission from the town’s police, according to organisers.
“We the people of Burma demand that the Burmese army cease its offensives in Kachin state and the rest of Burma, and end atrocities that are the result of the civil war, such as displacement, rape and human rights violations against local people,” said Tang Gon, one of the organisers of the event.
Fighting between the Burmese army and ethnic rebel groups in Kachin and Shan states has forced thousands of local people to flee for safety.
“The situation in IDP camps has deteriorated terribly since the humanitarian aid has been cut down and blocked by the military and government,” said prominent Kachin activist May Sabe Phyu, of the Kachin Women Peace Network.
Like other activists, she said she held out little hope of the current situation improving in the near future, despite the ongoing peace process under the new National League for Democracy government.
“It has been more than five years now, while the peace process [is taking place] at big hotels and thousands of dollars are being spent on meetings with no result, the IDPs’ survival has been forgotten both by local and international governments.”