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Myanmar junta steps up suppression of youths, villagers

Dozens of young people arrested as military continues raids on homes and villages

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 25, 2021 05:11 AM GMT

Updated: August 25, 2021 05:17 AM GMT

Myanmar junta steps up suppression of youths, villagers

People take to the streets in defiance of the Myanmar junta's crackdown on the democracy movement in Salingyi in Sagaing division on Aug. 18. (Photo: AFP)

The Myanmar junta’s violent suppression of young people and villagers continues unabated despite religious and world leaders calling for an end to the violence.

Young protesters have taken to the streets across the Southeast Asian country daily since the military seized power and detained elected civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1.

Opposition to military rule has gone from peaceful demonstrations to a self-defense movement with civil resistance groups springing up across the country. Hundreds of young people from cities and villages have gone to ethnic areas controlled by armed groups to attend military training.

More than 1,000 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, mostly anti-coup protesters.

At least 30 young people from several townships in Yangon, the commercial hub, were arrested on Aug. 23 and 24 as the military stepped up raids on homes and villages, according to local media.

Thousands of people from several villages in Sagaing and Magwe divisions were forced to flee their homes recently due to raids by junta forces.

We condemn the campaign of violent repression and we are committed to supporting the people there as they work to return their nation to the path of democracy

The raids and arrests came after Myanmar's shadow government known as the National Unity Government warned of a "D-Day" aimed at ousting the junta through civil resistance groups and ethnic armed groups.

US Vice President Kamala Harris has condemned the violent repression by Myanmar’s military.

“We condemn the campaign of violent repression and we are committed to supporting the people there as they work to return their nation to the path of democracy. We do hope that nations throughout the Indo-Pacific will join us in that effort,” Harris said during a speech in Singapore on Aug. 24.

The US, the UK and the European Union have stepped up pressure on the junta through sanctions while ASEAN struggled to solve Myanmar's crisis.

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Despite calls by the US and other Western countries, the junta recently stepped up its reinforcements of troops to Karen and Kachin states in eastern and northern Myanmar.

Hundreds of troops have been sent to several areas controlled by the Karen National Union in Karen state and it said fighting could erupt if junta forces enter their areas.

The Kachin Independence Organization, the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army, has called for negotiations to avoid fighting that would affect the lives of civilians facing difficulties during the pandemic.

Sporadic clashes between junta forces and civil resistance groups are raging in Chin and Kayah states, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

More than 220,000 people have been displaced in Kachin, Karen, Chin, Kayah and Shan states, predominantly Christian areas.

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