02/22/2021. This Monday is the day of the “revolution of the five two” in Myanmar and the three fingers are raised as a sign of resistance and solidarity to democratic movements.
For many pro-democracy activists, Monday is no longer a day of normal protests, as it has been since a coup d’état overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi. Today is 02/22/2021, or the day when the number two appears five times and creates “the revolution of the five two” (“five twos revolution“).
According to Express, this reference refers to the “five eight” day – August 8, 1988 – when the military forces responded violently to the pro-democracy protests in the country, in a protest that culminated in hundreds of deaths and injuries.
Almost 33 years later, the demonstrators took to the streets again in order to restore democratic normality. As in 1988, the military that seized power does not refuse violence. In the past few weeks, three protesters have ended up dead.
But threats do not seem to stop Protestants who, when they take to the streets, raise three fingers.
According to the weekly, it is a greeting originating from the series Hunger Games, which in 2014 was adopted by Thai activists and which now becomes a sign of resistance and solidarity to democratic movements across Southeast Asia.
And the truth is that nothing stops the activists. The blockade of the Internet, roadblocks and threats from the military that there will be more deaths did not stop citizens to leave en masse to demonstrate, following a call to paralyze the country.
Protests flooded the main arteries of Yangon, the country’s most populous city, Naipyido – the capital – and Mandalay, the scene of the weekend’s bloody repression, but also many other cities across the country.
Protesters demanded the restoration of democracy and the release of political prisoners, which now number over 600, including Suu Kyi, calls that have been repeated daily for more than two weeks in response to the February 1 military coup.
Although protests have been taking place peacefully, several altercations were recorded today in Naipyidó, according to videos released by activists on social networks, showing the police chasing the protesters and making several arrests.
“I don’t want to know about your laws and standards, they are not our government, so we don’t have to obey them. Not to curfew or anything. We will go out into the street every day until we can’t walk, ”assured an 18-year-old student to the EFE agency, during the protest in Yangon.
Before calling this Monday, the military junta left the country without Internet again at night and restricted the use of data during the morning, in addition to cutting several arteries of Yangon and Naipyido to prevent access to specially during the protests.
EU willing to impose sanctions on those responsible
European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers said they were “willing” to take restrictive measures against people “directly responsible” for the military coup that took place in Myanmar on 1 February.
“In response to the military coup, the European Union is ready to take measures restrictive measures aimed at those directly responsible. All other tools at the disposal of the EU and its Member States will be kept under review ”, reads the conclusions on Myanmar of the Foreign Affairs Council.
In this context, and even though they will “avoid measures that could adversely affect the population of Myanmar, especially the most vulnerable”, the heads of European diplomacy invite the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Security, Josep Borrell, to “develop appropriate proposals” for this purpose.
In the conclusions, the heads of European diplomacy Still “condemn” the military coup which took place in Myanmar “in the strongest possible terms” and stress that the “EU supports the Burmese people”.
“The EU calls for the current crisis to be cleared up through the immediate end of the state of emergency, the restoration of legitimate civilian government and the inauguration of the newly elected Parliament. The results of the democratic elections that took place on November 8, 2020 have to be respected “, refer the conclusions.
The heads of European diplomacy also ask that the “military authorities” and, “in particular”, the head of the Burmese army, Min Aung Hlaing, release “immediately and unconditionally ”the President of Myanmar, U Win Myint, the State Councilor, Aung San Suu Kiy, and“ all others who were arrested or arrested in connection with the coup ”.
“The EU condemns police and military repression against peaceful demonstrators, calls for maximum restraint by the authorities, and for all parties to refrain from violence, in line with international law,” say the ministers.
Stressing further that they are “ready to support dialogue with all relevant social partners who wish to“ resolve the situation in good faith ”, the heads of diplomacy reiterate that they will“ continue to work together with all those willing to support the democracy, the rule of law and good governance, and ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Myanmar ”.
“The EU has been a constant supporter of the civil and democratic transition in Myanmar, as well as its peace process, national reconciliation, and inclusive socio-economic development,” recall the ministers. Thus, those responsible say that the EU “will continue to provide humanitarian assistance” to “refugees and displaced persons in Myanmar”, in line with the “principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence”.
“The Council agreed that will keep relations with Myanmar under constant review and may consider other measures as appropriate “, informs the document. EU Foreign Ministers are meeting to discuss, in addition to Myanmar, the situation in Russia, Hong Kong and to have a conversation with the newly appointed US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Liliana Malainho, ZAP // Lusa