Conflicts & War

Myanmar junta spokesman mocks Suu Kyi, 2 Australians released

Bangkok Desk, Apr 5 (efe-epa).- A leaked video clip of a spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta saying during an media interview that leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s independence hero father would think that his daughter is “stupid” went viral Monday, and two detained Australians were released from house arrest.

In the video, CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward asks Zaw Min Tun if Gen. Aung San would be horrified if he were alive to see the situation in the country today.

“He would say, ‘How stupid my daughter,'” Zaw Min Tun replied.

The surprise at the response of the journalist has generated dozens of memes on the networks in the country.

Also Monday, Christa Avery and Matthew O’Kane, Australian development consultants detained two weeks ago when they tried to leave Myanmar, were released.

“I am, of course, incredibly relieved to have been released and on my way home, with my husband Matt,” said Avery in a statement.

Avery, who had been living in Myanmar for the past eight years, added that “even though I knew that I had done nothing wrong, it was very stressful … not knowing what was going to be the result of questioning” and said she feels “incredibly sad” to leave the country.

Another Australian, Sean Turnell, an economist who was an adviser to Suu Kyi, has been in custody for two months.

“I was very lucky to have been detained at my home and not in prison, as has been the case with Sean,” Avery said, adding that she hopes the professor will be released soon or at least transferred to house arrest “for his physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, the military has issued arrest warrants for at least 60 celebrities, accusing them of inciting dissent by publicly showing their support for the protests against the coup on Feb. 1.

Military channel MRTV on Sunday night published arrest warrants for about 20 artists, including actors and singers, adding to around 40 others in recent days.

The military accuses the celebrities of trying to destabilize the country through inciting civil servants to join the civil disobedience movement, and publishing content in favor of the civilian offshoot government, Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), described as “illegal” by the junta.

Also Sunday night, 10 ethnic armed organizations that signed a ceasefire agreement with the military in 2015 expressed their support for the democracy movement.

In a joint statement, the groups demanded the military junta to immediately “stop massive violations such as shooting and killing against unarmed civilians” as well as the unconditional release of all detained.

The 10 groups also welcomed the declaration of a federal democracy charter and symbolic “abolishment of the 2008 constitution” by the CRPH.

The charter, to which the military clings to affirm the legality of their seizure of power, was drawn up by the military and reserves broad political powers for the armed forces despite democratic elections since 2011.

The armed groups also reaffirmed their support for the civil disobedience movement that continues to take to the streets to demand the restoration of democracy despite the violent repression unleashed by security forces, which has already caused at least 564 deaths since the coup, according to the Association for Assistance of Political Prisoners.

Protests continued Monday around the country, despite the violence of security forces and restricted internet connectivity. At 5 pm, a nationwide applause was set to take place to honor the ethnic armed organizations siding with civilians, as well as youth protesters.

The military seized power alleging electoral fraud in the elections in November, which were won by Suu Kyi’s party and declared legitimate by international observers. EFE-EPA


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