Washington, DC – The mass protests in Myanmar (Burma) demanding an end to military rule have been going on for more than a month since the military coup. Dozens have been killed – many of them young activists.
The military took power in the Southeast Asian nation after arresting political leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of other lawmakers. The coup leaders have since formed a supreme council which will sit above the cabinet.
Today, February 6, Burmese diaspora in the USA, under the leadership of M. Tu Aung, General Secretary, Nationalities’ Alliance of Burma USA (NBAUSA), organized a mass protest in front of the Embassy of China here.
A sizable number of protesters shouted slogans denouncing the Chinese government support for the military junta in Burma where the population is enduring internet blackouts, rampant raids with unlawful arrests, being shot at point-blank range, or targeted with shots from long range.
The anger was palpable in the protestors as they raised slogans like:
Chinese Government Stop Helping (Dictatorship….. Dictatorship
Burmese Military (We don’t want… we don’t want)
Chinese Government Don’t support (military coup… military coup)
Myitsone Dam Project (Stop Now.. Stop Now)
UN Take Action Burma (Now….Now)
Burma .. Burma .. Must be free ( Freedom .. Justice.. Democracy)
Freedom Justice Democracy (Burma .. Burma Must be Free) 2
Free Free ….. Free Burma
Save Save ….. Save Burma
Military General ….. (Criminal …. Criminal)
Military Government ….. (We Don’t want)2
Military Dictatorship … (Against it… Against it)
Free our Leader ….. (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi)
We want democracy …….. We want democracy
We need Justice …….. We need Justice
We Stand with …….. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
We support 2020 election results
We need Support from US Government
Fight……… Fight …Fight for democracy
Fight……… Fight …Fight for Justice
The protestors also released a statement to the media:
“There was a coup d’état by Burma’s military under the presumption that the 2020 election was fraudulent. They unlawfully detained President U Win. Since then, the people of Myanmar have come out to the streets and are staging peaceful demonstrations against the coup as the military is detaining many government officials, including the president and the state councilor; formed the State Administration Council; and took over all three branches of the state’s power. As you and the whole world are witnessing now, the military is now using armed forces and killing peaceful demonstrators on the street.
The support of the Chinese government for the State Administration Council’s actions thus makes the Chinese government the collaborator in violating human rights and mass killings that are hindering the democratic reform process with the coup group. Meanwhile, the United Nations and governments around the world are rejecting the illegal State Administration Council and supporting the Committee Representing the Pyitaungsu Lutthaw (CRPH), which is representing the government of Myanmar elected under 2008 Constitution.
The people of Myanmar, the United Nations, and the international community are condemning the actions of the Myanmar coup. We are also rejecting the new elections proposed by the coup council. We are demanding that the coup council transfers state power to the originally elected government.
We urge the Chinese government to acknowledge and support CRPH and reject the illegal State Administration Council to halt the killing of innocent civilians, promote safety and peace in Myanmar, and further the democratic reform process and the formation of a federal union. We urge the Chinese government to support the CRPH formed by the elected representative and to encourage the CRPH to work with all ethnic minorities inside and outside the country.
Finally, we urge the Chinese government to pressure ASEAN countries to express their support of the CRPH.”
China Working to Support Military Junta
Earlier China blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the military coup in Myanmar. The United Nations Security Council after its meeting, failed to agree on a joint statement after China did not support it. China has the power of veto as one of five permanent members of the council.
Ahead of the talks, the UN’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner, strongly condemned the military takeover which came after the army refused to accept the outcome of general elections held in November.
She said it was clear that “the recent outcome of the election was a landslide victory” for Ms Suu Kyi’s party.
In further criticism, the Group of Seven major economic powers said it was “deeply concerned” and called for the return of democracy.
“We call upon the military to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically-elected government, to release all those unjustly detained and to respect human rights and the rule of law,” the statement released in London said. The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
The US administration here said it had been unsuccessful in contacting the Myanmar military and has formally declared the takeover to be a coup d’etat. Thus the US cannot directly assist the government, though most of its assistance goes to non-governmental entities. The EU, UK, Australia and others have also condemned the takeover.
In a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the Government of India said: “We have noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern. India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces until 2011, when a nominally civilian government was sworn in. A country of 54 million people, Burma shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Laos. It was ruled by an oppressive military government from 1962 to 2011, leading to international condemnation and sanctions.
With the latest coup by its military brass, it seems it’s deja vu all over again, but now the leaders like M. Tu Aung, under the banner of NABUSA, are vocal and active along with the country’s diaspora here.