Myanmar’s military regime has detained more than 40 anti-regime protesters and their relatives in Yangon since Sunday.
Some were detained when junta troops checked houses for overnight guests, while others were detained after the regime arrested the driver of a taxi taken by anti-coup protesters, according to a member of the Yangon Strike Committee.
“Some 40 have been detained. It is partly because the taxi driver who took the protesters was arrested and partly because military intelligence has stepped up its operations,” said a member of the strike committee.
Detainees are reportedly being held in township police stations, but some have been sent straight to interrogation centers.
Most of the detainees are from Kyimyindaing, Sanchaung, Tamwe and Yankin townships in Yangon, according to another member of the strike committee who is in hiding. Regime forces did not use guns in the arrests, but protesters were beaten as they were detained, he added.
A member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) said: “More than 30 were detained on June 13 alone. The number might be over 40 as more people were detained on June 14. The regime tracks them down through the accounts they use to donate money [to resistance groups], as well as through the drivers of the taxis they hail. We are still investigating how the regime can track them down. And we are still identifying the detainees.”
Anti-coup protesters in Yangon face an increased risk of getting arrested, said another ABFSU member.
“They have the addresses of protesters and come straight to their doors. If they don’t find the persons they are looking for, they arrest their relatives. We heard that people who are not involved were also arrested. We are checking if any of our members was detained.”
Protesters are often required to move to a new home once a colleague or friend is detained. But many landlords do not want to rent their apartments to young people, as the regime targets young people in its house searches, so protesters are therefore having difficulties finding places to hide out.
A member of the General Strike Committee (GSC) said: “The situation is once we lose contact with a member of our network, the whole group has to move out of their existing places. From the current situation, we can say that it has become more and more dangerous day by day. It is not even safe even if you hide in your apartment and don’t go out.”
On Tuesday, the GSC issued a red alert for protesters on its Facebook page, and other strike committees have also called on members to exercise caution.
“These extensive searches and arrests will only temporarily halt the protests,” said a member of the ABFSU.
Over one year on from the coup, street protests against the regime continue in Yangon and many other parts of the country.
At least 94 students have died in brutal crackdowns on anti-regime protests and in military custody since the coup and up to June 13 this year, according to the ABFSU and Yangon University Students Union.
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