Myanmar May Target Free Speech in Effort to Stifle Protests
Military Government in Myanmar Used for rapid night arrests, legal threats, a curfew and banning large gatherings for a week Anti-coup protests that spread from cities to rural areas. Now, civil society groups fear that the military is drafting a new law that will restrict online expression and limit citizens’ privacy rights.
Telenor, a telecommunications company, said on Friday that it was aware of the proposal and was reviewing it. A coalition of 158 civil society organizations signed a statement saying the potential new law would lead to widespread arrest of government critics.
Myanmar already has stricter laws prohibiting online speech, but Opponents of the army say that the proposed law It is so widespread that it allows officers to arrest anyone who criticizes the government online and imprisons them for up to three years. Critics also said that the proposed legislation would require telecom companies to cooperate with the government and provide information to their customers.
The military government declined to comment.
Amid concern over the proposal, it is feared that the military may use more force as protests continue, as it has in the past. Two protesters have already been shot. But the proposal also states that the military may Various ways are being found to curb the demonstrations.
The military party that has ruled the country for the longest time in the last 60 years has a long history of using violence to suppress protests, including the shutdown of pro-democracy protesters in 1988 and 2007. The Myanmar Army, or Tatmadaw, has never been ashamed. About showing the depth of its crueltyKilling the monks on the street and starting a murderous stampede against the Rohingya led to the exodus of the Muslim minority in 2017.
But a violent backlash after widespread peaceful protests that have swept the country since February 1. 1 coup can isolate Myanmar when Military leaders want to maintain normal economic relations. The coup leader spoke nationally on Tuesday evening. Senior general min ang hlingThe generals behind Juno have been largely silenced as the Civil Disobedience Movement has grown.
On Thursday, General Min Aung Hling posted a statement on Facebook saying that coronovirus vaccination was moving forward and was repeating his call for “disciplined multilateral democracy”.
Since seizing power, the military has shut down the Internet several times and blocked Facebook to disrupt communication between protesters.
In the last 10 days, A civil disobedience movement Nearly every aspect of society is occupied against military takeover. Many bank employees, railway employees, civil servants, doctors and nurses have refused to work to reduce the availability of medical care, slow down financial transactions and stop rail transport.
A walkout of rail employees earlier this week prompted the closure of the Myanmar Railway, serving only several thousand passengers near Yangon, the country’s largest city, under a coronovirus ban. There was no indication of when it would reopen.
In Yangon, where hundreds of thousands of people staged a protest on the streets earlier this week, the action was sparked by small spoilage demonstrations in different mohallas. On Friday, thousands of protesters demonstrated on foreign missions in the city, including the Chinese and Russian embassies.
The protesters have also become more creative since the ban on gatherings was announced on Tuesday. Some have paraded in horse drawn trains or worn ball gowns. One group of animal lovers brought their dogs, others their snakes and lizards. Musicians played on the streets, lifters barred their chests, and some young women wore bikinis holding anti-semitic signs.
“It is wonderful to see all kinds of people joining the protest,” said Yu Y Xin Thant, a private company manager at Mandalay. “I never thought I’d see a fashion show, a concert and a historic protest against the military coup at the same time.”
Even protests have started on the Placid Inlay Lake, located in central Myanmar, where the residents live in a bygone era. They live in homes built on stilts, grow vegetables in floating gardens and travel in long, narrow wooden boats. Fishermen are famous for standing on one leg, while crying with the other.
But the community is not remote enough to sidestep the protests. On Thursday, more than a thousand residents of Lake Inale gathered in protest by floating on a boat with anti-military slogans written on their wooden paddles and spelling out words in English such as, “dictators out Do it. “
“Perhaps people think that we live a peaceful life because we grow our own vegetables for food and make our own boats for transportation,” said Kon Nwe Tow,. “But we cannot ignore that in the country’s democracy, the army is being raped by the military.”
In several demonstrations earlier in the week, police officers crossed the protesters’ side from the crowd to big cheers. In the city of Loikov, Kaya State, at least 40 male and female officers joined the chanting “No Dictatorship” and “People’s Police” after switching sides.
But in the capital Napidaw, two protesters were shot dead by police on Tuesday, apparently with live ammunition. One victim, Maya Thwett Thwet Khing, 19, was shot in the head. She is being kept alive by a ventilator, Dr. at Neypeedo Thousand-Bed General Hospital. Wai Yan Kyaw said, where he is being treated.
“According to his injury, it should not be a rubber bullet,” the doctor said. “It must be an actual pill.”
Another patient, a man who was shot in the chest, has been released.
The woman’s sister, Maiya Tha Tu Nwe, said that they both took cover from the police water cannon in protest against the spray escape and were leaving when she was shot.
“There is no hope even with an operation,” she said. “I am very sad.” But he said that he would not be stopped.
“We participated in the protest against the military coup because it is not just for one person or one party,” she said. “We have to eliminate military dictatorship from our country, and I will keep on fighting.”
Several protesters praised President Biden’s decision on Wednesday Ban generals Behind the coup that would prevent them from gaining access to $ 1 billion in the United States by their government.
Mr. Biden, who has demanded that the military release the civilian leader, Dau ang san suu ki, From House arrest, said he would announce additional action against military leaders and their families. The United Nations Human Rights Council was scheduled to meet in a special session on Friday to consider taking action.
In recent times, the army has rounded up key leaders who aligned with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party National League for DemocracyIn the midnight raid, which includes the chief ministers of 14 states, the popular mayor of Mandalay and his Australian economics advisor.
Among those detained were the chairman and members of the Central Election Commission, which oversaw the November elections that A. National League for Democracy Won in a landslide. Army justifies its coup Electoral fraud claim. Authorities also raided the party’s headquarters in Yangon, confiscating financial records, computers and data storage devices.
His family said that a patient, who was active at the moment of civil disobedience in Ingapu city in southern Myanmar, was arrested and dragged by the Plaquolths police officers Thursday afternoon. He has not been heard since.
The army announced on Friday that it would release more than 23,000 prisoners as part of an apology in honor of Central Day, a national holiday commemorating the 1947 War of Independence. Such large-scale inhumanities are not uncommon in Myanmar; The civilian government released around 25,000 prisoners in April.
But advocates of democracy online expressed concern that the junta might organize some prisoners into mobs to attack protesters, a tactic that critics said has been used in the past.
Hannah Bitch contributed reporting.