The Myanmar junta violently arrested a young anti-regime protester and a freelance photographer who were involved in a widely emulated umbrella strike in Yangon earlier this month marking the 34th anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.
The strike staged by Yangon anti-regime activists holding umbrellas imprinted with the Myanmar digit “8” in some of Yangon’s busiest places—despite the presence of tightened security—went viral and spread to other parts of the world, with expats and supporters of Myanmar’s pro-democracy struggle in the US, France, Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan copying the protest.
The Yangon People’s Strike on Thursday confirmed the arrests of its member and the freelance photographer, both of whom are students at the SMVTI vocational training institute, for involvement in the strike. It said the two were arrested on the night of Aug. 20 in Yangon’s Tamwe Township and Mayangone Township respectively.
During the arrests, large numbers of junta troops violently raided the places where the two were staying, confiscated their belongings and reportedly took the pair to a military interrogation center, the group said.
The group added that they fear for the lives of the pair, as no information has been learned about the two since the arrests.
On Thursday, a pro-junta Telegram account that frequently exposes anti-regime activists in an effort to get them arrested posted pictures of the two taken after their arrests, in which one appeared to have been badly beaten.
In the pictures, the two are seen being forced to kneel down, with sheets of vinyl and the umbrellas used in the anti-regime strikes positioned in front of them.
Yangon People’s Strike said that in the past few days, many young people had been arrested by junta forces with the help of junta supporters.
“We would like to urge the public to take more security precautions than before, as well as to help anti-regime protesters seeking shelter in their neighborhoods,” the group said.
Since the coup, the junta has killed at least 2,239 people and arrested more than 15,000 including peaceful protesters, activists, elected lawmakers and striking civil servants.