Myanmar Junta Supporters Protest UN Resolution Calling for end to Violence

By The Irrawaddy 18 January 2023

Myanmar’s military regime has organized a series of protests against the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s resolution on Myanmar which demands an end to violence and calls on the junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The latest demonstration was held on Tuesday in Karen State’s Hpa-an, with members of the ultranationalist Association for Protection of Race and Religion, better known by its Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha, joining military sympathizers at the protest.

The UN Security Council’s resolution is the first adopted on Myanmar in 74 years. China and Russia, who have backed Myanmar’s junta since the coup, abstained from the vote on Wednesday, along with India. The remaining 12 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.

Although the Hpa-an demonstration purportedly targeted the UN resolution, protesters held placards showing United States (US) President Joe Biden and stating “US, the world’s shit bag”, while shouting “US, the world’s troublemaker, don’t interfere” and “We oppose foreign countries interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar.” Junta media reported that some 1,800 people took part in the peaceful protest.

Posters denouncing US President Joe Biden at a pro-regime protest against the UN resolution on Myanmar in Hpa-an on January 17, 2023.

Demonstrators wearing yellow t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Ma Ba Tha Karen’ welcomed prominent firebrand nationalist monk U Wirathu, the former leader of Ma Ba Tha, who spoke at the protest. The monk was recently awarded the title of Thiri Pyanchi by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

The regime has accused the UN of adopting the resolution to create instability in Myanmar. Demonstrations against the resolution have since taken place in townships in Yangon, Mandalay and Tanintharyi regions and Mon, Kachin, and Karen states, with junta forces providing security for protesters.

A total of 26 political parties, including the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), released a joint statement strongly condemning the UN resolution.

Ma Ba Tha supporters did not publicly participate in previous protests. But Ma Ba Tha monks and supporters in Ma Ba Tha t-shirts dominated the latest protest in Karen State.

Military supporters also took to the streets several months ago to show their support for the regime’s execution of four democracy activists, including Ko Jimmy and former lawmaker Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw. The pro-junta demonstrators even stoned the homes of the families of the two men after they were executed.

There were similar demonstrations under previous military regimes. Then, such protests were orchestrated by the Union Solidarity and Development Association, the forerunner of the USDP, and military-backed vigilante groups including the notorious Swan Arr Shin.