INTERVIEW: “Revolution is lead by Generation Z”
Young fighters for freedom and democracy in Myanmar. “Revolution is lead by Generation Z”; Interview
The Millennial Agona managed to get in touch with a protester from Myanmar. This short interview shows the situatiation through the eyes of a young protester. What do the protests looks like, how is everyday life affected by them and how is COVID-19 managed in such a chaotic situation?
Protesters in Myanmar (Source:Myanmar Pressphoto Agency)
This interview was conducted with the Myanmar Protester Kyaw Thu.
What do the protests look like and how do the police or the army react to them?
Because of the shootings that have been carried out by the military at the end of February, the demonstrations have been changed into a motion where the protesters make an active protest in their neighbourhood rather than organising at the central areas of the city. The crackdown of the police and the soldiers has been dramatically changed. In the middle of February, they had a three warnings lines for the protesters which they would put in action if the protesters crossed the last line, but now, they would come to the protesting areas and use sound bombs, tear gas, shooting with rubber bullets and live bullets without any warning. They would chase the protesters and even went into the buildings and houses that had hid the protesters. These days they are only using live bullets to crackdown our demonstrations.
What is the mood among protesters?
There have been two or three types of changes in the protesters. The youngsters, which we call generation Z, are making defence lines in the neighbourhood streets for the peaceful protester to have more time to run when the violent crackdowns happen. The older generation, boomer generation still believes not to act violent towards the military junta and protest peacefully.
Mass arrests are taking place. On what basis are people arrested?
The protesters that had been arrested in the demonstration area were not arrested with any act of law or cases, in fact, their case was only labelled once they arrived to the prison. In Yangon, they only know under what act they were arrested once they were sent to the Insein Prison. They are put under the act of the Incitement to destabilize the country, Environmental Law (which is the act of law that was made for the covid restriction), digital law (which was implemented earlier in February) ; where they take actions of the protesters social media accounts , their posts and their comments. For most of the protesters they were charged with Environmental Law and detained for a week or more at the Insein prison and thereafter they had to sign a pledge of responsibility to be released from the relevant police station.
How do big protests and clashes with the police affect everyday life?
Due to these protests there had been road closures, and basis business were closed too. There had been many participants in the civil disobedience movement, and because of that, most of the banks and the development committees, hospital, railways has been closed. But still the neighbourhood’s small wet markets are open. Because of the closure of the companies from the big cities, the economy had been hit to all the level of the people that is currently living in Myanmar (sic).
How much of an impact do the protests have on the coronavirus situation in Myanmar?
The action of the government and the NGOs regarding the Coronavirus awareness has been halted. After the Feb 1 coup, The Covid Control Centres in Yangon were closed. And because of the Civil disobedience movement participated in by the medical doctors, there had been less reports of the Coronavirus cases.
Since police and military shoots live bullets, how do protesters protect themselves? Do they have weapons? (guns or slingshots ect.)
At the start of the demonstration, the people from the front line wore protective gears like tear gas mask, gloves and shield made with hard wood or steel. They had used sandbags and layed down big wood logs as the defense. Within this week, because of the use of the lethal forces and live bullets from the military and the police, the protesters had brought Molotov cocktails, some bring handmade smoke bombs, and slingshots. The protesters did not bring any armed weapons.
Do you think the United Nations is failing to help you?
The United Nations had only made statements of the violence of human rights and the arrest of the 300 students and the Myanmar people are upset and dissatisfied upon this. For my point of view, I think it is because of the limitations of the authority within the UN itself. In the end we only believe that we must rely on ourselves for our freedom.
How do you want the western world to react and help?
For the US, because they don’t want to have a tight situation with China therefore, they won’t be able to help us regarding with the troops or any sorts, but they would only make sanctions. The EU had made a statement that they support the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). For me the best is that they make sanctions to the current Myanmar Military and support the CRPH.
How do you see the future of Myanmar?
If the people of Myanmar win this fight against the brutal Myanmar Military, we will rebuild our country’s economy and we will need the support from ASEAN and also from the western countries. For the internal affairs, because of the federal democracy system, the longest civil war in the world will cease. This spring revolution is lead by Generation Z, who also resolve the country’s stereotypes and cultures and that is why, in the future there would be no more ethnic oppressions. Human resources in the ethnicities and in the areas of the far-fetched land in Myanmar will be bloomed. There will be a huge transformation in the education and the economy as well.
The Millennial Agora thanks Kyaw Thu for his time.