In the aftermath of the deadliest day of repression since the coup, with at least 38 protesters killed according to the United Nations (UN), protesters continue to take to the streets in Burma, but fear is on everyone’s mind.
According to local press, police opened fire on Thursday morning to disperse demonstrators in Pathein, a town west of Rangoon. No casualties were immediately reported. In Yangon, the economic capital, small gatherings were formed, demonstrators erected barricades and deployed sheets to prevent the police from targeting the demonstrators. ” We are united ! “, chant the protesters, protected behind makeshift barricades built with old tires, bricks, sandbags, bamboo and barbed wire.
“Yesterday was a horrible day … It is very sad to see that the Burmese army has not changed” for sixty years, says activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi, who adds that she would continue to protest in San Chaung, a residential area of Yangon. In recent days, San Chaung has seen its streets turned into barricades made of sandbags, tires, bricks and barbed wire.
Not far from there, traders hurry to sell part of their merchandise. “It’s dangerous to stay here. The police and the army are also shooting in the streets. It is better to go home and come back in the evening ”, explains a food vendor.
Passers-by walked on posters of the junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing, stuck to the ground, a ruse to embarrass the police, who would not dare to do the same. “Now our duty is to resist”, added Thinzar Shunlei Yi.
The army seems more determined than ever to put out the sling wind which has been blowing over the country since its coup d’etat on 1er February against the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The UN envoy for Burma, the Swiss Christine Schraner Burgener, spoke with the junta, warning them that the United Nations “Could take important steps”, in an attempt to put an end to the violence. She also offered to go to Burma, the army telling her that she was welcome, but ” not now “.
Funeral of a victim
A large crowd gathered Thursday in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, for the funeral of a 19-year-old girl who died the day before. “There will be no forgiveness for you until the end of the world”, sang the assembly, gathered in front of its coffin surrounded by flowers.
Kyal Sin has become a symbol in the country: a photo where we see her, shortly before being targeted by a fatal shot, wearing a T-shirt: ” Everything will be alright “, has gone viral on social media. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (LND), has announced that it is putting flags at half mast in its offices to commemorate the dead.
Security forces fired live ammunition in several towns on Wednesday to break up rallies against the coup, with images posted on social media showing protesters covered in blood and gunshot wounds to the head.
Balance sheet, at least 38 dead, according to Mme Schraner Burgener. More than 50 civilians have been killed and dozens injured since the putsch. Among the victims, four minors, including a 14-year-old teenager, according to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Save the Children. The army reports that a policeman died while dispersing a demonstration.
Almost 1,500 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since 1er February, according to an NGO assisting political prisoners, a number which is undoubtedly largely underestimated.