Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) discussed possible responses to the ongoing arrests of anti-regime protesters and activists, as well as ways of forging greater connections between the country’s various revolutionary forces on Tuesday.
NUG Acting President Duwa Lashi La, Prime Minister Mahn Win Khaing Than and ministers held an online meeting attended by a dozen revolutionary organizations, both armed and political, from around the country.
“When we reported on and asked [for their ideas] about the current situation we face on the ground, including the arrests of protesters, Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration U Lwin Ko Latt answered our questions and suggested ways they could help,” a young member of a revolutionary organization who attended the meeting told The Irrawaddy.
During the meeting, the acting president emphasized the need for mutual trust between the NUG and anti-regime activist groups, saying it was evident the young revolutionary generation had many new ideas. He said he was amazed by their innovative protest methods, which consistently captured the attention of the public and the entire international community, according to a statement released on the acting President’s Facebook page.
“My respect and esteem for young people involved in various revolutionary protest groups have never wavered,” Duwa Lashi La told the representatives of revolutionary organizations.
The ethnic Kachin leader invited open criticism of his government, saying it welcomed public input and would respectfully listen to the opinions of the anti-regime activists.
“When a mistake is made, we never hesitate to correct it,” the President said.
He added that the various political activist organizations are expected to be a key force in establishing a federal democratic country.
At the meeting, the questions regarding the political protesters and activists were fielded by the relevant ministers, and their recommendations and suggestions recorded and accepted, according to the chairman of the Octopus Youth Organization.
“Through this meeting, we saw more intimacy and openness, more unity. I think that will make the movement stronger,” he told The Irrawaddy.
A young member of a revolutionary organization said the meeting was positive, and revolutionary forces were encouraged to directly criticize the government.
“It would be good to hold more such meetings,” he said.
Ko Nan Lin from Anti-junta Alliance Yangon, who attended the meeting, said he hoped such open discussion with the NUG would make the opposition to the junta more harmonious, coordinated and cooperative.
Anti-coup protests erupted around the country after the military seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, ignoring the desire of the people, who turned out strongly to elect the National League for Democracy in the November 2020 poll despite peak pandemic conditions.
The NUG acting president said that the protests were the first step in the Spring Revolution, as important as the diplomatic struggle, prison strikes and armed resistance, according to the Octopus Youth Organization chairman.
Young protesters and members of revolutionary forces continue to be arrested by the regime around the country. Regime forces have raided safe houses and violently arrested pro-democracy activists. Therefore, the number of protests against the military dictatorship in large cities such as Yangon and Mandalay has decreased, but bold young protesters have managed to carry out occasional flash mob protests and use other creative methods to voice opposition to the regime.