Myanmar Situation Update (12-18 April 2021)

The protests continued for the 11th week despite the brutal crackdown by the junta forces. Ko Wai Moe Naing, a prominent leader of the pro-democracy protest movement in Monywa, Sagaing region, was beaten and dragged away after a vehicle hit his motorbike. 26 citizens were killed by the junta forces during the Thingyan period, habitually the country’s most joyful and auspicious holidays.

Mobile data was cut in Myanmar for the 35th consecutive day according to Netblocks while nighttime internet blocking continues. Wireless and broadband services were also shut down throughout the country. Youth are fighting the junta's internet shutdown and information suppression with underground printed newsletters such as Molotov, The Voice of Spring, and The Milestone of Spring that they are secretly distributing across communities in Yangon and other cities.

This week, pro-democracy politicians, including the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) announced a shadow National Unity Government (NUG) formed under the terms of the Federal Democracy Charter. Mahn Win Khaing Than, an ethnic Karen and former House Speaker was appointed as the prime minister, while Duwa Lashi La, president of the Kachin National Consultative Assembly is the vice president. President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi retain their positions. 

The special ASEAN summit on Myanmar is scheduled to take place on 24 April in Jakarta and Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing will attend the summit as his first known foreign trip since he staged the coup. The National Unity Government officials responded that ASEAN has to negotiate with the newly formed legitimate government if they want to help resolve the current situation. They also urged ASEAN to provide a seat at the summit for the NUG and not to recognize the junta as the legitimate representative of Myanmar. 

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 737 people have been killed by the junta as of 18 April and 3,229 people are currently under detention. 75 have been sentenced and 930 arrest warrants have been issued targeting pro-democracy activists, political party leaders, government officials, medical officers, celebrities and social media influencers. 

An art and culture concert called “Myanmar Spring”, to be held on 24 April at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. The charity event is organized by Myanmar students in Thailand, in the hope of raising awareness and raising funds in support of the anti-coup Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), internally displaced individuals, and families of those who have lost their lives in the conflict in Myanmar.

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