In Burma, “shadow government” hails Asean call for end to violence

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The Burmese “shadow government”, made up of deposed deputies, hailed the call by the leaders of Southeast Asian countries for an end to “military violence” in Burma, where opponents of the junta have continued to take to the streets on Sunday despite the crackdown.

Since the February 1 coup, repression has left more than 740 dead in Burma and a UN rapporteur has estimated the number of displaced people at more than 250,000, with the threat of destabilization as a result. of the region.

Two days ago:
A regional summit in the face of chaos in Burma

The head of the army at the top of Asean

Burmese army chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing attended a summit on Saturday with officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta.

The ten Asean nations have reached a consensus on a five-point plan in favor of an “immediate end to violence in Burma”, according to a statement released on Saturday by the bloc. ASEAN also intends to appoint a special envoy to “facilitate mediation” between all the parties, a personality who would be able to travel to Burma.

Encouraging news

On Saturday evening, a spokesperson for the “Government of National Unity” the GUN – a shadow government made up of deposed deputies mainly from the party of Aung San Suu Kyi (the National League for Democracy -) welcomed the call for end of violence as “encouraging news”.

“This is what the Government of National Unity is asking for,” said the “minister” of international cooperation in this government, Dr Sasa, who went into hiding. “We look forward to firm action from ASEAN to follow up on its decisions and restore democracy and freedom for our people and for the region.” The members of the GUN are wanted by the junta for high treason.

Overnight, European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said the EU would continue to call for the release of political prisoners.

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But the repression continues

In addition to the violent repression, the junta also restricted the means of communication throughout the country, with nightly internet cuts for 70 days and a drop in mobile coverage, effectively cutting off access to information. The independent media The Irrawaddy confirmed on Sunday that its former editor, Thu Thu Tha, had been arrested in Thanlyin, a port town near Yangon.

“Despite Min Aung Hlaing’s presence at the ASEAN summit, it’s business as usual,” newspaper founder Aung Zaw said, adding that most of his staff were in hiding now.

Even as the junta leader was in Jakarta, the military continued to suppress protests across Burma on Saturday, killing at least one protester, according to a witness.

Violence on Saturday afternoon

A motorcycle rally in which opponents gave the resistance three-fingered salutes not far from the capital, Naypyidaw, escalated into violence in the afternoon when police and soldiers opened fire. A 50-year-old protester was arrested and killed, a witness told AFP.

Under threat of violence, the Burmese continued to take to the streets on Sunday – from the mining town of Hpakant to Karenni state.

In Myingyan (center), where brutal repressions forced residents into hiding in neighboring villages, demonstrators painted some of the town’s buildings with red paint in protest against the bloodshed. “Give back the power to the people”, one could read on the graffiti painted on the sidewalks of the city.