JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Myanmar’s military junta sacked Myanmar UN Permanent Representative Kyaw Moe Tun on Saturday as police cracked down and arrested protestors in several cities across Myanmar and carried out threatening deployments in advance of Sunday’s planned general strike, which is expected to bring hundreds of thousands into the streets across Myanmar as well as engage sympathizers in other ASEAN countries who are part of the so-called Milk Tea Alliance. On Friday, Tun, who was installed as his country’s ambassador to the UN by the previous National League of Democracy government in October, spoke out against the junta that seized power in a coup on February 1 in a dramatic turn of events on the floor of the General Assembly that instantly turned him into a hero in his own country and drew public plaudits from ambassadorial colleagues around the world. The junta announced his dismissal in an announcement on state-run television. Also on Saturday, Myanmar police moved against peaceful protesters in several cities across the country, violently making multiple arrests. One woman, a doctor, is said to have been killed. Meanwhile the military made shows of force at critical locations, including in front of the University of Mandalay, where they parked a number of personnel carriers and pointedly removed a sign on the university’s front gate supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement.
The crackdowns, arrests and deployments are concerning in light of the fact that very large street protests are expected in cities across Myanmar and in other countries of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) regional grouping on Sunday as Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement attempts to leverage international support for its campaign to remove the junta and restore the country’s democratic government led by deposed State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi.
One of JURIST’s law student correspondents described the situation Saturday in Mandalay as it unfolded:
This morning, in Mandalay, many police forces
1. At the corner of 62nd and 35th street
2. In front of MCC
3. On 73rd street, at the entrance of University of Mandalay
4. In front of Railway station
On 30th Street between 77th and 78th streets, there’re three warning lines and 78th street is totally blocked. There’re also water cannon
At 10:17 am
They start arresting in front of Shan Ethnic group office.
At 10:27 am
Military cars and water cannon are on 35th Street in front of Mya Taung Monestery
Many students (two prison full vehicles) are arrested from No. 16 Basic Education High School demonstrators group.
They’re oppressing us a lot more today may be because of last night’s UNGA [UN General Assembly neeting]. And tomorrow is another big day as we call for all ASEAN countries and Milk Tea Alliance to protest against all Military coup.
Also in Yangon, they assign full police force and start arresting at Tamway, Hledan, San Chaung. Many protesters have to hide in the Tamway Ocean supermarket.
Also in Mone Ywar city, in front of Pya Thet Monestery, they tie teachers and students with ropes and beat them with batons.
They’re getting more insane today.