Myanmar dispatches: updates and analysis from our law student correspondents in Myanmar
Myanmar dispatches: updates and analysis from our law student correspondents in Myanmar

JURIST EXCLUSIVE – One of JURIST’s law student correspondents in Myanmar writes Wednesday:

On the military press conference

RFA [Radio Free Asia] interviewers asked a lot of specific and straightforward questions at Tuesday’s press conference given by the military junta. What they mainly explained is how much they can bend the laws in their favor. Whatever they’re doing, everything is legal because they’ll make it legal by changing the law. They have no plan to change their actions.

While we were all distracted by that press conference, they brought Aung San Suu Kyi to court (although they previously said they would do it on 17 Feb). She is charged with violating another meaningless section in the penal code and this may lengthen her detention. Our president U Win Myint will represent himself in court as he has a Higher Grader Pleadership license and is a a registered lawyer.

Banks

KBZ Bank is being pressured to reopen.  Branch managers refused to go to work and supported CDM [Civil Disobedience Movement] with all of their colleagues despite firing threats from upper management.

Force used against railway workers in Mandalay; military reprisal attacks on railway staff in their homes

This afternoon, Wednesday, the military junta kidnapped 10 train operators (most of whom are still trainees who don’t know how to start the engine). The junta made them kneel and demanded that they start the engine and drive the train to Myit Kyi Narr (for two purposes: to show that the train station is still running on MWD [the military-owned Myanmar TV network] and to send more military forces to Myit Kyi Narr). A big crowd urged their release in front of the railway station. My brother was there in the crowd and one of the hostages threw a paper ball from a window (written about the threats) to let the crowd know what was happening. Many railway staff and neighbors (near my home) blocked the railway tracks to prevent any departure. The crowd had to leave at 8 pm because of the curfew and the kidnapped train operators remain there. They failed to depart from the station today.

At 9 pm, the military targeted railway staff residences as all the staff are CDM-supporting. They shot with rubber bullets at the windows where there were lights on so no one dares to open the light in their house anymore. They shot flare guns and tear-gas bombs [see tweeted video]. While attacking the staff, they removed the blocks from the railway tracks. Exact information on injuries might be only available in the morning. Everyone is greatly worried. How much more do we have to suffer? Rude military junta. Their main focus is the CDM. They allegedly offered to pay 200,000 Kyats (141 USD $) to railway staff if they quit CDM. Sorry, no one is taking that offer.

Threats against teachers

Also, I got a call from my high school teachers that they’re called to come to school to sign a receipt and get their monthly salary. But we’ve heard that the military is planning to threaten teachers to sign an agreement to quit CDM and not to be involved in politics. We’ve suggested that staff not sign anything and not go to the workplace. Financial supports are ready to back up everyone. A woman who is one of the main supporters of CDM is also being chased by police.

Traffic jams in Yangon

By pretending to have problems in car engines, we block roads so military/police cars and water cannon cars can’t approach near people. Plus, no one can go to work voluntarily or involuntarily. This works very well so tomorrow every car will drive slowly (5mile/hr speed). The crowd only gets bigger and bigger every day. Not a chance for the military junta.

Another arrest

Mandalay Region Natural resources and environment minister (from NLD [National League for Democracy]) is also arrested today.

Internet cut-offs

It seems the internet will be cut off regularly at 1 am till 9 am. This is their attempt to tame us, as if we’re animals. They’re making us “get used to limits in life”, “limits established by the juntas” till we lose the knowledge of our limitless rights.

We’ll never get used to losing internet access at 1 am, we’ll never get used to rushing towards home before 8 pm [for curfew]. They’re making us exchange our rights for a sense of security. But we’re not scared anymore. They should be.