At least six protesters have been killed in Myanmar today in a shootout with the junta government. Myanmar’s highways were still abuzz on Wednesday against the junta government. Local media quoted eyewitnesses as saying there were casualties and repeated gunfire. At least seven protesters were killed and several others were injured. Meanwhile, protesters set fire to a Chinese factory in the country’s commercial capital, Yangon, on Wednesday. At the same time, the Chinese flag was also burnt.
Pro-democracy protests, strikes and non-cooperation are being carried out across Myanmar. Meanwhile, the country’s military ruling authorities say the civil “disobedience movement” is “destroying” Myanmar.
At least 580 people have been killed in protests in Myanmar over the past two months. Protests continue in the South Asian country after a bloodless military coup on February 1. Protests and strikes continue across the country despite the use of deadly force by the military to suppress the opposition.
A local resident told Reuters that protests were also taking place in the northwestern city of Kale on Wednesday, demanding the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government. At one point, members of the country’s security forces opened fire indiscriminately on protesters. Five people were reported killed there.
Citing eyewitnesses, various local media outlets reported that gunshots were heard repeatedly in the town. These shots caused casualties. There were also shootings in the town of Bago, near Yangon. Two protesters were killed.
Protesters set fire to a Chinese-owned factory in the commercial capital, Yangon, the report said. They also burned the Chinese flag. However, no casualties were reported in the fire at the garment factory. Besides, the details of the damage were not known.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (APP) says more than 580 people have been killed so far in anti-coup protests in the country. Among the dead were children. About three and a half thousand people have been arrested.
China is backing Myanmar’s military junta. That is why the Myanmar protesters are angry with China. Last month, protesters set fire to 32 factories with Chinese investment in Yangon.
Coronavirus infection has increased again in the country. Death is also increasing day by day. The government has issued 16-point instructions to deal with the second wave of corona. State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain spoke to Kaler Kantho about this. Interviewed by Bahram Khan
Kaler Kantho: Do you think the new guidelines are well thought out?
Farhad Hossain: The government has given this instruction in the public interest. At the first shock of the epidemic we knew nothing, had no experience. This time we experienced a little bit during the second push. Hopefully, we will be able to handle the situation again with joint efforts.
Kaler Kantho: There is no mention of many issues in the central order.
Farhad Hossain: The Infectious Diseases Control Act has all kinds of instructions. The district administrations are taking action in that way. It is not possible to hold everything in one order centrally, nor should it be. If there is more garment in any area, the administration there will take initiative by targeting the garment. For example, Gazipur district. I spoke to DC of Gazipur today (yesterday Thursday). They are talking to traders. Tourists have been banned from entering Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachari. In the light of the 16 point instructions, other instructions are coming according to space and time, more will come.
Kaler Kantho: The new directive has asked all government and non-government organizations except the emergency services to work with 50 per cent manpower. What is the government’s initiative to implement it?
Farhad Hossain: I hope that necessary steps will be taken by the concerned ministry in this regard. For example, the responsibility of the banking sector lies with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Commerce is responsible for the garment sector. Thus, the decision may have to be taken in consultation with the private sector in charge of their respective ministries.
Kaler Kantho: Many say that there should have been discussions with stakeholders in various sectors before giving instructions.
Farhad Hossain: The government has been warning about compliance with health rules before. The Prime Minister himself has warned about the second blow of Corona on various occasions. The cabinet department has been asked to raise awareness in the field administration. Those who do not want to follow the hygiene rules have been asked to be punished through a mobile court. These initiatives are ongoing on behalf of the government. The infection suddenly increased so much that there was no opportunity to give time.
Kaler Kantho: There is no mention of any non-government organization in those who have been given a copy of the 16-point directive. How will they officially know?
Farhad Hossain: Last time you saw, the government has decided to talk to the private sector at different levels. This time too they will be in phases. We are going through a very uncertain environment. The whole world has to deal with such a situation.
Kaler Kantho: Ordinary people have been affected on both sides by the announcement of half fare for public transport and 60 percent increase in fares. Is it reasonable to give instructions for public transport with almost everything open?
Farhad Hossain: The matter has been taken from the concerned ministry through deliberation. It has been effective before. 50 percent of the manpower is working in our government offices. All types of gatherings including entertainment centers, meetings and associations have been asked to be restricted or closed. If you notice, local administrations in different parts of the country are taking different measures.
Kaler Kantho: The decision to stop motorcycles running in the ride sharing app will increase people’s suffering. What initiatives has the government taken in this regard?
Farhad Hossain: It is a very temporary decision. On the other hand, 35 new BRTC double deckers have been installed on the streets of Dhaka today (yesterday) to reduce the suffering of the people. Tomorrow (today Friday) 25 more buses will land. In all, 60 buses have been arranged.
Kaler Kantho: Book fair is going on in Dhaka. Development fairs are going on at district level all over the country. But the government has asked to limit all kinds of public gatherings. Isn’t that contradictory?
Farhad Hossain: A certain class of people go to the book fair. The time limit of book fair has also been reduced.
Kaler Kantho: Are the people who go to the book fair out of risk?
Farhad Hossain: No, there are conscious class people who follow the hygiene rules. For this reason, the Ministry of Culture may have arranged for a limited number of fairs.
Kaler Kantho: Reducing the time of the fair will increase the crowd and increase the risk of infection.
Farhad Hossain: The scope of the fair is very big this time. So many people are no longer gathering at the fair. Even after this, if the Ministry of Culture wants, new decisions can come.
Kaler Kantho: The fair is closed?
Farhad Hossain: What they think is necessary.