Myanmar Troops Arrest Anti-Regime Protesters in Yangon
By The Irrawaddy 14 June 2022
At least five young people who took part in anti-coup flash mob protests in Yangon were arrested on Monday night while military troops were checking overnight guest registrations in some townships in the city.
Regime troops and police have been hunting protesters in a number of townships in Yangon that have seen strong anti-junta protest activity including Sanchaung, Kyimyindaing, Hlaing, Tamwe and Thingangyun.
The overnight guest registration system is used to monitor the presence of strangers in neighborhoods and was used by the previous military regime to crack down on dissidents. Under the system, someone who is not a permanent resident in a neighborhood must report to local authorities if he or she wants to stay there overnight. The current junta reinstated it after the coup last year.
As the troops checked overnight guest registrations in the above townships on Monday, a protester from Yangon People’s Strike and three from Kyimyindaing Youths Strike were arrested for failing to report their stays to authorities, according to one of their fellow young anti-coup activists.
A member of the General Strike Committee (GSC) confirmed the arrests. The GSC was formed by 25 organizations from different fields including political groups and strike committees to work for the end of military dictatorship.
“We don’t know exactly who was arrested last night but other protesters are moving to other safe houses,” the GSC member told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
Despite the tightened security, young activists have staged frequent flash mob protests in the commercial capital Yangon.
On Saturday, young protesters managed to attach a banner reading “Today the pagoda is closed as the nation has been sentenced to death” at the main gate of the Shwedagon Pagoda, despite the presence of soldiers and police guarding the vicinity of the pagoda.
Strike committees have continued their protests in Yangon in order to divert regime troops’ attention from underground (UG) members engaged in missions to attack regime targets.
A GSC member said, “We well know the ground protests are very dangerous but if we don’t hold the protests the UG members will be targeted by soldiers and police. If they try to arrest us, the UG members can complete their mission on the other side.”
At the same time, junta troops and police are tirelessly hunting the protesters. They have stepped up their efforts to arrest protesters this month, and strike committees in Yangon have warned their members to be on alert.
Additionally, young anti-coup activists are facing many difficulties. “Even when we have funds, it is not easy to rent a safe house for our members. House owners don’t want to rent to young people,” said the GSC member. The regime has threatened to confiscate the property of landlords who rent it out to anti-regime activists.
On May 30, at least two protesters were detained after junta troops rammed a private vehicle into anti-coup protesters in Yangon.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 11,043 people are still in prison after being detained since the coup.