Protests Continue in Myanmar
After the military takeover of the government of Myanmar, tensions have been rising. Over the weekend of February 6-7, the Burmese public have taken their protests to the streets, with tens of thousands rallying against the military takeover and expressing support for detained democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The angry public grew uneasy as the government banned internet access on Saturday morning.
“The tension between the Myanmar’s pro-democratic supporters and the military remains volatile,” shares Daisy, Open Doors’ local partner. “Police stood in two lines barricading the path for the protestors. If protestors cross the first line, they will be shot at sight. The protest will intensify in coming days and the number of protestors have been increasing each day.”
Pastor Ko Ko Thun*, an elderly pastor, tells Open Doors: “When I recall the previous military junta, I become so angry and upset that I want to vomit.
“When I was still a student, I remember them checking me and my friends’ identity cards and making us stand under the rain. They also confiscated our books. Once, we carried our own rice to cook in our hostel, and the soldiers accused us of supplying rice to the insurgent groups and detained us.” Ko Ko Thun hesitates. “When I think deeply, if the military is going to rule over us again – I cannot, I dare not imagine – my tears can’t stop.”
Many believers are fearful that the same situation like the 1988 uprising will happen again, but our local partners continue to have peace in God. “It’s amazing how God allows us to communicate inside the country today,” says Min Thaing, an Open Doors field partner. Around 500 workers gathered on the streets to protest in Min Thaing’s neighbourhood on Saturday, and the police and military have been on high alert.
“Yesterday, we were totally cut off, today, we are able to connect again. We feel left out when there is an internet blackout, but now we are able to share updates and videos and photos. It is amazing how God works and allows us to connect by making internet connection available on time. The internet availability here is uncertain and unpredictable, it may not be available in the evening or tomorrow, but we have a God who can part the seas and we know that He will make a way for us.”
Pray for believers to be salt and light wherever they are, pray for their safety as they stay in their homes, or as they join the protests
“Online worship service was not made possible today as the internet is cut off,” Daisy shares. “Christian families and small groups have gathered to pray for the country. One Christian family living in the outskirts of Yangon was advised by one of our partners not to hit pots and pans, as they live in a neighborhood supporting the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the Ma Ba Tha group. In Myanmar, the banging of pots and pans is a practice meant to ward off evil spirits – a practice that dissenters of the military junta have adopted as a sign of protest against the coup. Pray for a restored internet connection all over the country. Pray for the believers who may be feeling lost and confused by these recent political developments.”
Pray for fund transfers to be possible again
Because of the internet ban, the public was also unable to use Wave Money, a Burmese e-wallet service. “This money transfer app is most reliable and is commonly used by public. Since its suspension, many people have been facing difficulties.”
Pray for peace and stability in the country
Daisy shares that protests have also started today in Tamu, a border town in Myanmar and India. The public have displayed slogans and boards along the roads. “Youngsters drive around the towns, honking and making noise. Supporters wear red to show their support, and military trucks are seen driving around the town.” In Kalaymyo, more than 5,000 protesters are protesting against the coup on the streets. The police are on standby to control and confront the protesters. In Yangon, the public applauds and supports protesters by handing water bottles and cold drinks. “The women’s participation in the protests is remarkable,” Daisy shares. “There are more than 100,000 protestors, and each day, this number is increasing.
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