Protesters Call for End to Military Govt During Union Day
By Network Media Group
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Despite indications of a crackdown, the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in northern Burma, is growing everyday.
“We don’t like the military dictatorship,” Ko Ngwar Kyaw Htin, a Lisu youth from Myitkyina, told NMG during Union Day. He explained it’s very important for his generation to join the CDM and stand up against the army.
Since February 8, tens of thousands in the Kachin State capital have protested against the coup, joining protests that are happening across the country.
Union Day commemorates the signing of the 1947 Panglong Agreement on February 12. The following day is the birthday of Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government. Aung San is credited as being the architect of Burma’s independence movement and was assassinated the same year he signed the Panglong Agreement.
This year demonstrators used the holiday to protest against the dictatorship and call for a federal democratic union, as promised under the Panglong Agreement. They demanded for the controversial 2008 Constitution to be abolished and all political prisoners freed.
After the Tatmadaw—as the Burma Army are locally called—took over the government on February 1, they arrested NLD leaders and many others. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 400 were detained and arrested by February 12.
During Union Day, some of Burma’s many ethnicities wore their traditional dress. Indian flat bread and dal was served to municipal servants, ethnic youth and elders and Buddhist and Christian leaders who joined the protests.
Yu Kyaw, who works in education, told NMG she’s demonstrating because they need to “stand up for justice and truth”.
A government staff, who requested to remain anonymous, said no matter what happens they will continue protesting. “We’re prepared for the worst situation. We are government staff. We do not have any weapons.”
We don’t recognize the military as our government, said another demonstrator. “Our government is the one that is in our heart.”
Although the Tatmadaw didn’t prevent protesters from joining Union Day, soldiers tried to stop people from entering Myitkyina the following day.
“We are so angry with the Burma Army and why we joined the protest against the military coup,” said Ko Nge. “We want all government staff to join the CDM and we demand that the Burma Army relinquishes power back to the elected government.”