Clear evidence of the power of the Spring Revolution can be seen in the momentum of ongoing protest and campaigning efforts. Another nationwide protest named the ‘Six Twos Revolution’ was organized to mark the anniversary of the 2021 ‘Five-Twos Revolution,’ held last year as part of a nationwide general strike. Protesters proudly held posters and signage reiterating calls for an end to the Myanmar junta’s crimes against humanity. Three finger salutes were seen as another act of defiance while individuals donned flowers in their hair and the traditional thanaka on their faces. The banging of pots and pans to draw out evil spirits, a popular non-violent form of protest adopted over the last year, was also encouraged. Political prisoners detained in various jails across Myanmar also found ways to participate by observing five minutes of silence. People also distributed anti-junta fliers and hung banners.
The peaceful demonstration was one where all involved demonstrated their rights to protest. And yet – the military junta unjustly violently cracked down. Peaceful protesters were arrested, including dozens in Tanintharyi and Sagaing regions.
Security forces, wearing riot gear, ruthlessly ambushed 34 young people celebrating a birthday party who they alleged were involved in the protest. ND-Burma member, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland, reported on the case and indicated that no arrest warrants were shown in conjunction with the arrests. They were detained at Laung Lone Township police station.
In Monya, Sagaing region, two women on a motorcycle handing out anti-junta materials were rammed by a car causing them both to fall. One of them was two months pregnant and miscarried as a result.
These injustices against innocent civilians once again speak to the cruelty which the Myanmar junta has never hid behind. Accountability for these crimes and more is long overdue, as is the protection for internationally recognized rights and freedoms.
Artillery shells were fired in Nagar-Taung Hill, three kilometers from Three Pagodas Pass Township which injured at least three innocent civilians on 22 February 2022. A young woman, a resident of Makatta and two day laborers, Nai Thit and Saw Pha Doh were injured when the shells landed. The firing forced over 120 households to flee from their villages and take refuge in Brigade four of KNU territories.
The KNU has warned the junta and the BGF to retreat from Karen areas on multiple occasions to ensure their control is eliminated.
Meanwhile, approximately 20 internally displaced people sheltering in Lay Kay Kaw recently tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials say it is difficult to isolate patients due to crammed camp conditions. This is yet another unfair burden placed on innocent people by the junta.
KARENNI (KAYAH) STATE
Airstrikes were once again deployed by the Myanmar junta in Karenni (Kayah) State in the town of Moebye following intensified clashes between People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) and the regime. On 16 February, Myanmar Army forces entered several villages near Moebye and air and ground strikes followed on a daily basis. Karenni based PDFs have been reporting that they’ve killed more than two dozen junta soldiers during the clashes. Civilians caught in the crossfire of the shelling have said the impacts of the blasts ‘shake the walls’ of their homes. Thousands have fled for safety but have faced challenges as they try to escape including multiple checkpoints and extortion by the soldiers.
The onslaught of fighting has left the Karenni people fearful for their futures. Since the beginning of the year, IDP camps have been struck by air attacks and forced thousands to flee. Traumatized survivors have lost loved ones and witnessed the harrowing impacts and brutality of civil war up close.
More airstrikes targeting local people by the Myanmar junta led to three civilians killed, and five injured one the evening of 23 February.
Sagaing region remains one of the most hard-hit areas by the junta’s violence. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, the terrorist acts committed by the Myanmar junta are worsening in their scope, particularly in areas like Sagaing region where the resistance to the junta has been successful. The impacts of clashes are continuing to have devastating impacts on civilians.
Worsening hostilities prompted a man overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his wife, son and daughter killed during a raid on his village in Sagaing region, to run towards the soldiers responsible, calling on them to shoot him, to which they did. More and more harrowing accounts are emerging and are continuing to expose the relentlessness of the junta. No civilian is safe, no life spared.
In addition, over a dozen homes were scorched by the junta in Ai Taung West village, Kani township, forcing more villagers to flee. Burning homes has become a common tactic deployed by the regime. In Chaung-U village, the military also set fire to the majority of the 400 households. Alongside the raids, possessions of civilians have been stolen, including cash, valuables and livestock.