World Myanmar generals hire lobbyist as anti-coup protests continue
World condemns Myanmar crackdown as 18 peaceful protesters killed
Security forces open fire, use tear gas and make mass arrests as they seek to disperse anti-coup demonstrators.UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday led the chorus of international condemnation against the actions of the military, which grabbed power on February 1 and declared a year-long “emergency” after alleging electoral fraud in a November election that was won by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide.
Myanmar’s generals have hired a Canadian lobbying firm to help “explain the real situation” in the country, as security forces on Wednesday were engaged in a standoff at the staff compound of railway workers opposed to the February 1 coup and the United States said it was “repulsed” by the use of lethal force against protesters.
Footage posted on social media showed security forces gathered on the street near the railway staff compound, in an echo of the military’s efforts on Monday night to barricade protesters into Sanchaung, also in Yangon.
ASEAN set for talks with Myanmar military as crisis escalates
Foreign ministers will call for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release encourage talks between the civilian leader and the army.Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, in a televised interview late on Monday, said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will tell the military it is appalled by the violence in Myanmar and call for the release of the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and for the two sides to talk.
One person involved in the strike told the Reuters news agency by telephone they feared an imminent crackdown.
“I think they are going to arrest us. Please help us,” said the person, who asked to be identified only as Ma Su rather than their full name.
In a Facebook live broadcast from the area people chanted: “Are we staff united? Yes, we are united” and a commentator claimed police were trying to remove barricades and threatening to shoot.
Details could not be independently verified. Police and army officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The railway workers are part of a mass civil disobedience movement that is intended to cripple government business and bring about the restoration of the elected government of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Protests continue amid row over who represents Myanmar at UN
Anti-coup rallies resume as Myanmar envoy, military make rival claims to representation at the United Nations.Police beat one person and arrested 10 people on Wednesday as they tried to disperse crowds in one protest hotspot in a northern district of Myanmar’s main city of Yangon, according to Frontier Magazine.
The military response to the now-daily protests has become increasingly violent with at least 60 people thought to have been killed in the crackdowns and nearly 2,000 detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group that is monitoring the arrests.
On Tuesday, an National League for Democracy (NLD) official said the party’s Zaw Myat Linn had died in custody after he was detained in Yangon at about 1:30am (19:00 GMT on Monday). His wife said he had injuries to his abdomen.
Speaking on Tuesday in Washington, DC, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US was “repulsed” by the military’s continued use of lethal force, and urged the security forces to use “maximum” restraint in dealing with the protests.
“The latest escalations that we’ve seen in recent days of violence, it’s just another indication of the military’s complete disregard for the people of Burma.” Price said, using another name for Myanmar. “It’s unacceptable.”
Myanmar’s Digital Insurgents Have Finally Found a Way to Hurt the Junta
This story was produced in partnership with Coda Story. One month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country. Now, in addition to taking their anger to the streets, an underground movement of pro-democracy activists has unleashed a raft of new digital tools on the armed forces and police. Myanmar’s powerful militaryOne month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country.
The military has also stepped up actions against independent media reporting on the unrest, raiding offices and revoking licences. At least 35 journalists have been arrested since the coup, according to Myanmar Now, one of the news organisations that has come under fire. Of those detained, 19 have since been released.
Western countries have condemned the coup and tightened sanctions on some of the generals involved including coup leader Min Aung Hlaing.
The European Union has indicated tougher sanctions focusing on miltary-linked businesses, but the UN Security Council has been struggling to reach an agreement on a response.
On Tuesday, the 15-member body failed to agree on a statement that would have condemned the coup, called for restraint by the military and threatened to consider “further measures”.
China, Russia, India and Vietnam all suggested amendments to the text of a British draft, according to diplomats, including the removal of a reference to a coup and a threat to consider further action.
“Every member state has a role to play individually and collectively. Collectively, we are always looking for a strong voice and strong action from the Security Council,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters earlier on Tuesday.
The world must act now to stop the brutality of Myanmar’s junta
The army’s power grab is not only destroying democracy, it may also lead to another onslaught against the Rohingya.The shocking scenes brought back painful memories of the military-led repression of protests in Myanmar in 1988 and 2007, as well as military-led violence against ethnic groups like the Rohingya. The bloody scenes must be a wakeup call for the world to act now to support the protesters and ensure a return to a genuinely inclusive democracy. If the Myanmar army’s reign of terror becomes normalised, there is every chance violence will escalate.
Diplomatic efforts continued as it emerged that the generals had hired a Canadian PR firm on a $2m contract to work on their behalf at international organisations including the UN, as well as with governments in the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Dickens and Madsen will “assist in explaining the real situation in the Country”, a filing with the US Department of Justice, said. The attached contract, dated March 4, was signed by the firm’s President and Director Ari Ben-Menashe and Mya Tun Oo, who is the defence minister in the military administration.
Some police have refused orders to fire on unarmed protesters and have fled to neighbouring India, Reuters reported, citing an interview with one officer and classified Indian police documents.
“As the civil disobedience movement is gaining momentum and protest(s) held by anti-coup protesters at different places we are instructed to shoot at the protesters,” four officers said in a joint statement to police in the Indian city of Mizoram.
“In such a scenario, we don’t have the guts to shoot at our own people who are peaceful demonstrators,” they said.
The army has said the coup was necessary because of fraud in the November election, which the NLD won in a landslide. The elections commission has rejected its claims, and its members were among those detained when the generals seized power.
Myanmar Buddhist group signals break with authorities after violent crackdown .
Myanmar Buddhist group signals break with authorities after violent crackdownIn its most forthright condemnation of the military's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, the government-appointed body also said in a draft statement its members intended to halt activities in an apparent protest.