This is the summary for day 19 of the #MyanmarCoup and night 5 of internet blackouts. A lot happened today, but the things to pay attention to are the increasingly extreme moves towards restriction communication and information flow, new sanctions and comments (or lack thereof) from members of the international community, and the battle over fuel and cash that will likely play a large role in determining the outcome of this struggle.
Day 19 also saw the death of Ma Thwe Thwe Khine, the 20-year-old protestor who was shot in the back of the head for trying to defend her vote. She died after over a week in the hospital.
Tatmadaw Response - The Tatmadaw has now blocked Wikipedia in all the different versions and continues to impose nightly internet blackouts on the populace. 20 journalists also quit the Myanmar Times, a national news outlet, after they were told they could not use the word “coup” in their reporting. The paper’s owner is a supporter of the military aligned party, USDP.
The night arrests continue, as well as arrests at protests, and the number of political prisoners is nearly 550. Many participating in CDM are in hiding. Security forces have also put up signs and banners in some areas that they will begin to use live bullets soon if protestors do not stop. There are reports from all over the country of security forces beating protestors and using projectiles from slingshots. The majority of this violence is being reported from outside of the major cities, where there is less media coverage and often a language barrier as well.
CDM (Civil Disobidence Movement)- Protestors in recent days have been floating fluidly between malicious compliance and active disobedience. After being told that cars are not allowed to break down on the roads, cars simply began driving through the city at 5 miles per hour and pedestrians kept accidentally spilling rice and onions into the streets and spent ages picking them up.
On the other hand, people have also been defying martial law by going out after curfew and have also been refusing to cooperate with regime appointed local administrators. Protests continue at embassies, sites of government run institutions (especially police stations where protestors are being held), and military installations (especially in ethnic areas where the military is seen by some as a foreign occupying force).
Elected officials have formed the CRPH , Committee Representing Pyithu Hlutdaw, to organize themselves as the “legitimate government”, and have also formed their first regional government in Shan State - CRSSH. Boycotts continue with a focus on military conglomerates like MEHL and MEC.
Things to keep an eye on - More sanctions have been put on Myanmar generals by the UK and Canada, even as the Australian energy giant, Woodside Energy, said they would push ahead with gas development in the country. Energy and other natural resources can mean the difference between billions of dollars in the pockets of the military.
Myanmar CSOs have reached out to ASEAN to join in the international condemnation of the coup. There are fears that COVID vaccines will be used as leverage by the military to break the CDM movement. 10 Ethnic Armed Organizations also met to discuss abandoning the nationwide ceasefire (to varying degrees of compliance) that has been under effect since 2014.