EAOs Boycott Burma’s Armed Forces Day

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Several ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) that didn’t attend the 77th Armed Forces Day of Burma said they wouldn’t have attended even if they’d been invited, although some EAOs attended the commemoration in Naypyitaw on Sunday along with the military regime.

Aung San Myint, the second secretary of the Karenni National Progressive Party, whose military wing, the Karenni Army, are battling the Burma Army (BA) every day, told NMG before the event that they’d no intention of attending.

Padoh Saw Taw Nee, spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU), couldn’t say if they were invited, but if they were, they wouldn’t have gone for the same reasons as the KNPP.

“It’s pretty clear. We clash with them every day, how can we participate in Armed Forces Day?” he told NMG.

But the Arakan Liberation Party, the Restoration Council of Shan State, the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and the Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council were all there.

Aung San Myint said that the problems facing the country due to the coup affect everyone and that no one should play along with coup leader Min Aung Hlaing’s charade out of self-interest.

“The BA has invited (some) EAOs to the Armed Forces Day to give the impression to the international community that they’re engaging with them, but it’s all for show. In reality, BA isn’t interested in building a federal union that the ethnic people and EAOs want,” he said.

Padoh Saw Taw Nee declined to comment on what the other EAOs were doing, saying they were free to decide for themselves.

On Sunday, two BA fighter jets celebrated the day by dropping several bombs on Daybunoh village in Mutraw’s Luthaw Township in the KNU’s armed wing, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Brigade 5 area, at around 2am.

Min Aung Hlaing vowed to “annihilate” opponents of the coup on Armed Forces Day, and called for unity against “internal and external mischiefs”. Observers said the army chief’s comments suggest the regime is showing cracks after its forces faced widespread resistance in the Southeast Asian country.

On 12 February, the junta invited selected EAOs to its Unity Day celebration in Naypyitaw. The KNPP refused to attend, as did many EAOS and KNU leaders. However, Padoh Saw Shwe Maung, the former chair of KNLA Brigade 6 in Dooplaya District, did attend.