The junta in Burma ordered its diplomats in London to oust the pro-Aung San Suu Kyi ambassador, sparking condemnation from the United Kingdom, while a famous actor was arrested this Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Yangon.
Diplomats close to the junta have seized the Burmese embassy in London and deny access to Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn, Aung San Suu Kyi’s backer.
The military attaché took charge of the representation, noted Kyaw Zwar Minn denouncing “a kind of coup”, in a very tense diplomatic context.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Thursday denounced the “intimidation” of the junta: “We condemn the intimidation of the Burma military regime in London yesterday,” he said on Twitter.
Twelve people were killed on Wednesday, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). The NGO lists some 600 civilians – including about fifty children and adolescents – slaughtered since the coup d’état of 1is February.
The toll could be heavier: more than 2,800 people have been arrested. Many, without access to their relatives or a lawyer, are missing.
And the legal hunt continues. Some 120 celebrities of the country – singers, models, journalists – are targeted by an arrest warrant, accused of having disseminated information likely to provoke mutinies in the armed forces.
“Make us our hero”
Among them, Paing Takhon, model, actor and singer very famous in Burma and in neighboring Thailand.
The 24-year-old young man was arrested Thursday morning at his mother’s home in Yangon “by about fifty police and soldiers and taken into custody,” his older sister Thi Thi Lwin said on Facebook.
On Wednesday, in one of his last messages on the internet, he had indicated “not to be in good health for many days”.
“My heart is broken”, “Make us our hero”: condemnations flourished on social networks where Paing Takhon was followed by a million fans before his Facebook and Instagram pages were closed.
The actor was one of the first personalities in the country to condemn the putsch.
Pro-democracy mobilization is not weakening with tens of thousands of workers on strike and entire sectors of the economy paralyzed.
But the crowds are less numerous to demonstrate for fear of reprisals.
The repression “is now concentrated in rural areas”, notes the AAPP.
Shoes and flowers against the junta
In the cities, the protesters try to find parades to continue to be heard.
This Thursday, Ei Thinzar Maung, one of the headliners of the protest, asked the population to symbolize each absent protester with a shoe.
Dozens filled with yellow padauk flowers, normally associated with the Burmese New Year which begins next week, have been installed in the streets of Mandalay, according to images posted on social media.
In Rangoon, they were placed in bus shelters, some decorated with red roses in homage to the “heroes who fell under the bullets”.
New clashes broke out on Wednesday between the army and one of the country’s main armed ethnic factions, the Karen National Union (KNU), resulting in one death.
The KNU and a dozen other rebellions have lent their support to the pro-democracy protest, raising fears of a risk of civil war in a country accustomed to ethnic conflicts since its independence in 1948.
The coup drew many condemnations from Western capitals and led to the defection of several prominent Burmese diplomats, including the country’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union have sanctioned the junta and its leader, General Ming Aung Hlaing.
China and Russia, traditional allies of the Burmese army, reject the idea of coercive measures.
In the meantime, a resistance group dubbed CRPH (Committee to Represent Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Burmese Legislature) has started talks with UN investigators into the alleged atrocities.
Extrajudicial executions, torture, illegal detentions: the CRPH claims to have already gathered some 200,000 elements proving “large-scale” human rights violations.
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