Monday, October 30, 2006

96-Uprising -to 98

Many of the student leaders as well as those who supported the 96 movement were arrested after the closure of universities and handed long and harsh jail terms. The most notably was the sentence of 20years imprisonment for the man who donated boxes of mineral water to the demonstrators at Hledan junction. His shop was ordered to close doors as well. It was also learnt that the man who owned the loudspeaker, which was used by the students was also jailed. Many of the journalists were sent behind bars for directly or indirectly involving in the protests as well.

Known by the pseudonym Cho Seint, Kyaw San was sentenced to seven years in prison for supporting the 1996 student demonstrations in his articles and poems, published in opposition magazines. He was badly beaten during interrogation at the start of 1997 and has been partially deaf ever since. He is the grandson of Thakin Kotaw Hmime, one of the fathers of independence along with Gen. Aung San.

Aung Zin Min was arrested with journalist Cho Seint in December 1996 and sentenced to seven years in prison for supporting the 1996 student demonstrations in his poems, published above all else in the magazine New Style which he helped to edit.

A teacher and journalist who used the pseudonym Myint Myat Thein, Myint Thein was arrested on 4 December 1996 during student demonstrations in Rangoon and was badly beaten by police during interrogation. A few weeks later, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for supporting the student movement in his magazine pieces. He wrote on international relations for several magazines including the monthly Ah-twe-Ah-myin, Shwe Wut Hmone, Nwe-ni and Thaung-pyaung-htway-la.

The junta successfully crushed the 96 uprising but not the morale of the students. Even though many students who led the movement were put behind bars or slipped into Thailand after the uprising, the rest of us were determined to fight on. We all knew the reopening of the universities would unite us again. And we all knew most of us would not bow to the brutality of the regime and just attended the classes as they wanted.

Just days before the reopening of YIT, students made plan to stage a protest at Hledan again. The plan was relayed to the students many days ahead of the planned schedule by mouth. We were to strike on August 25th (12 noon or 1 o’clock, the exact time I didn’t remember). We were to wear yellow rubberband on our wrist and waited around the junction until the scheduled time.

Some of us were worried that MI would somehow detected our plan but it was all clear on that day. No large number of police and barricades were presented around Hledan, just youths with yellow rubberbands sitting on the platforms, wandering inside the book stores, drinking tea in teashops and shopping along the street stalls. My blood was running high with satisfaction and excitement. This showed the determination and courage the students had. This showed the struggle of Burma would continue even if we failed now.

The junta was caught off guard again (at least we thought). The protest was a total surprise for everyone. I left early, and later learnt that riot police broke up the protest and arrested several people. There was news of another protest in YIT later that day and some confrontation between the riot police and the students.

However, the junta opened the YIT doors on the last day of August (could not remember exactly but it was around then) and met with protests on 2nd September.

(Notes: Reports about journalists were taken from the news media on the web)

0 comments:

Friday, October 27, 2006

96 uprising – Further protests

After December 3 incident, the regime brought in more troops into the city and had close eyes on the students. Although the situation was tense, no street demonstration was held on 3rd and 4th Dec. With the Burmese National day holiday on 5th Dec, Rangoon witnessed no further demonstrations for a couple of days. However, on 6th Dec, with the regime’s refusal to meet any of the students’ demands, which included punishment of the policemen involved in Sawbwargyigone incident, the reinstatement of two students who had been subsequently suspended and the forming of student union.

The junta responded by closing all exists and circling the YIT compound with troops. Only those who would want to return home were allowed to take buses. With no other options, the students made secret plans. They would leave the compound and took buses pretending to go home. However, they would all to meet again at Hledan Junction to continue the fight.

By the time the first group of YIT students alighted at Hledan, there already were hundred of students from other universities and schools. The combined students staged the protest at Hledan as before. Between 2 and 3 pm Insein Road was blocked by riot police and army troops. The students displayed banners and made speeches, repeating their calls for the right to form their own union and the release from prison of 80 student leaders. Some students left the demonstration during the day, fearing intervention by riot police and armed troops, but by late evening some 500 remained, ignoring appeals from teachers to disperse. Local residents and other onlookers provided the students with water and food.

In the early morning hours of 7 December a group of some 250 students remained sitting at the Hledan intersection, surrounded by security forces. The group of students burned candles and prayed towards Shwedagon Pagoda. Onlookers, local residents and other students were gathered on streets and balconies nearby. Students from inside the YU campus also looked on. Riot police backed by armed troops were assembled on the surrounding streets.
As the riot police marched down Insein Road towards the Hledan intersection, people gathered on that road threw bricks and other projectiles at the riot police, who threw stones back at them. The similar incidents were reported happened near Sinyaytwin as well. Those were the first direct confrontations between the police and people since 1988.Demonstrations were finally broken up forcibly at about 3 am with the use of water-cannons and riot police who charged the crowd wielding shields and batons. All the students in the intersection ducked down to avoid the water cannon directed at them, but one student, holding the flying peacock flag, remained standing and was knocked over. Police sprayed water cannons for 20 minutes on the students in the intersection before arresting them, and riot police with batons and shields charged another group of 100 students gathered nearby. (Most of these events were shown on CNN and other news media around the world thanks to the journalist who managed to take the video from a high floor building where many Burmese shops, clinics, tuitions were situated.)
According to official sources, 180 students and 83 non-students were detained and taken away to the Kyaikkasan ground. The authorities later claimed that all of them were "handed over to their guardians". However, since the arrest happened on the early morning of Saturday and the subsequent closure of the University starting Monday, we were not able to confirm whether they were indeed released.

Universities were closed in Mandalay after student demonstrations broke out on 9 December. It was reported that forty students were arrested and put in jail, 32 male and 8 female students. In Rangoon, Demonstrations also happened at Dagon University, Kyimyindine College (RC-3), Botatang College(Workers College) and the Institutes of Dentistry and Medicine, all of which were broken up by the security forces. After the demonstration at Dagon University at least four students were arrested. Students staying in hostels were forced to return home by the regime since universities were closed. High schools were also suspended fearing more protests.

However, demonstrations continued. A small demonstration in front of the US Embassy was held the night of 10 December when about 20 students were reportedly arrested. Small demonstrations on that day also occurred at the Governmental Technical Institute (GTI), which was broken up by the riot police, and at the Number One Institute of Medicine, where a second demonstration was held on 11 December. The same day students from the Number One Institute of Medicine wrote a letter to the Rector concerning the continued detention of three medical students who had been arrested during the 11 December demonstration. The army responded by bringing in armored vehicles and aimed the guns at the IM-1 students sitting in front of the gates. It was not known how the standoff ended.

On 11 December there was a demonstration of some 200 people in front of the palace in Mandalay. On 12 December there was a student demonstration at the university in Moulmein, capital of the Mon State in southeastern Myanmar. On 14 December a demonstration took place at the university in Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine State in southwestern Myanmar. Both universities were subsequently closed by the authorities. Reports also indicate that students at Monywa high schools, Sagaing Division, Upper Myanmar, held demonstrations on 11 and 12 December.

On 13 December, army troops entered Thamine Textile Factory, which located near RC2 as well as YIT and changed the name to Tatmadaw Textile Factory. Whether the factory was continue running was not known but many army trucks and soldiers were seen stationed inside the factory compound throughout 1996, 1997 and 1998.

By the end of December 1996, there were news of more than 100 students still receiving treatments at Rangoon General Hospital. The students were being
treated for wounds sustained during the violent crackdown on their peaceful protests earlier this month. Rumors were that no house surgeons (medical students interns) were allowed to go into this ward - only senior doctors were permitted entry.

By mid-December, Rangoon was like a battle field. Tanks were brought in and stationed in public views at City Hall, Army Office compound, and Rangoon Military HQ to scare the people. YIT campus was surrounded by at least 32 army trucks fully loaded with soldiers and rice bags. Soldiers were stationed at the University Damayone field just beside Hledan Junction. At least 5 light army trucks were seen patrolling downtown Rangoon every hour.

(The protests insided YIT campus and Hledan was told by my friend who was involved in that incident. References were also taken from amnesty international and ABSDF reports for the reports of demonstrations countrywide. The IM-1 incident was rewritten as I heard in 96 and the rest of the scenes were my own experiences.)

2 comments:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ေမြးမာတာသို႔ ခြင့္ပန္လႊာ

လြန္ခဲ့တ့ဲ ၃၊ ၄ ႏွစ္ ၁၉ ဇူလိုင္ အမွတ္တရ ထုတ္ေ၀တဲ့ ေမာင္ညိဳ၊ ႏြယ္မိုးေအာင္ နဲ႔ ေမာင္ကို၀င္းတို႔ရဲ႕ ကဗ်ာစာရြက္မွ ကူးယူေဖာ္ျပပါသည္။ ခံစားနားလည္ ႏုိင္ၾကပါေစကုန္။

“ေမြးမာတာသို႔ ခြင့္ပန္လႊာ”

ခြင့္ျပဳပါ အေမ
က်ေနာ္ မိုက္ပါရေစလား။

ဆံုလည္ ကုလားထုိင္ေပၚ ထိုင္ၿပီး
နရသီဟပေတ့ရဲ႕ ဟင္းခြက္ေတြန႔ဲ
အတၱကို အစာ မေကၽြးပါရေစနဲ႔ - အေမ။

ပန္းေမြ႕ယာ၊ ေရႊေကာ္ေဇာနဲ႔
ဖ်ားေယာင္းခံရမဲ့ ဘ၀ေတြကို
က်ေနာ္ မတပ္မက္ပါရေစနဲ႔ - အေမ။

စိန္စီျမလၽွမ္း၊ ေရႊနန္းျပႆဒ္ေဆာင္ အလယ္မွာ
ရာဇမာန္ ယစ္ၿပီး
က်ေနာ္ ဘ၀ကို မခ်စ္ပါရေစနဲ႔ - အေမ။

ခြင့္ျပဳပါအေမ၊
က်ေနာ္ မိုက္ပါရေစလား။

လူေတြရဲ႕ မ်က္ရည္စေတြသုတ္
က်ေနာ္ဟာ ပ၀ါစုတ္ကေလး ျဖစ္ပါရေစ - အေမ။

ဆူးခင္းလမ္းကို ျဖတ္ကူးမဲ့ သူေတြအတြက္
က်ေနာ္ဟာ
ဖိနပ္ေလး တဖက္ ျဖစ္ပါရေစ - အေမ။

အေမက
က်ေနာ့္ကို ေမးတယ္
“နင္ ေခြးျဖစ္ခ်င္သလား” တ့ဲ
ဟုတ္ကဲ့ - အေမ၊
သစၥာတရားကိုသိ
ေက်းဇူးတရားကိုျမင္
သခင္အတြက္၊ အသက္ကိုမခင္တတ္ေသာ
အၾကင္သတၱ၀ါကို
ေခြးလို႔ အမည္သမုတ္ရင္
က်ေနာ္အဟုတ္ ေခြးျဖစ္ပါရေစ - အေမ။

ဂုဏ္ယူလိုက္ပါ့ အေမ
က်ေနာ္ မိုက္ပါရေစေနာ္။ ။

ေမာင္ကို၀င္း

0 comments:

Friday, October 20, 2006

တြန္းေနၾကမယ့္သူေတြ

ကိုမင္းကိုႏိုင္အတြက္ ေမြးေန႔ဆုေတာင္းေလးေတြ ျမန္မာblogေတြမွာ ေတြ႕ရတာ အရမ္းကို ၾကည္ႏူးစရာ၊ ေပ်ာ္စရာ ေကာင္းပါတယ္။ သိပ္လွတဲ့ ဆုေတာင္းေလးေတြပါ။

ဒီဆုေတာင္းေတြကို ဖတ္ၿပီး က်ေနာ္လို ကိုမင္းကိုႏိုင္နဲ႔ ေသြးမေတာ္ သားမစပ္၊ ဘာမဆိုင္ ညာမဆိုင္ ဟိုးအေ၀းႀကီးက လူတေယာက္ ေပ်ာ္တယ္၊ အားတက္တယ္ ဆိုရင္ ကိုမင္းကိုႏိုင္ရဲ႕ မိဘေတြ၊ သူ႔သူငယ္ခ်င္းေတြ ဘယ္ေလာက္မ်ား ေပ်ာ္လိုက္မလဲ။ ၈၈ မွာ သူတို႔ေတြ စြန္႔လႊတ္ခဲ့ၾကတုန္းက ကေလးသာသာ ရွိေသးတဲ့သူေတြ၊ ေမြးကာစ ကေလးေတြ၊ လူ႔ေလာကထဲ ေရာက္ေတာင္ မလာေသးတဲ့သူေတြက သူ႔ကို ခ်စ္တယ္၊ ေလးစားတယ္ ဆုိတာသိရင္ ကိုမင္းကိုႏိုင္ေရာ ဘယ္ေလာက္မ်ား အားတက္လုိက္မလဲ။ ျမန္မာ ျပည္သားေတြေရာ ဘယ္ေလာက္ အားရၾကမလဲ။

အစ္ကိုတို ့တေတြလို ေရွ ့တန္းက မတြန္းနိဳင္လို ့ တြန္းနိုင္သေလာက္ေလး ေနာက္တန္းကေန ၀င္တြန္းလိုက္ပါတယ္ အစ္ကို။ နဲတယ္မ်ားတယ္ သေဘာမထားပါနဲ့ ခင္ဗ်ာ။ - ကို--

ဟုတ္ပါတယ္ ကို- -ေရ က်ေနာ္လည္း တြန္းေနပါတယ္။ တတ္ႏိုင္သေလာက္ တြန္းေနရအံုးမွာပါ။ အားလုံးကိုလည္း ၀ိုင္းတြန္းေစခ်င္ပါတယ္။

က်ေနာ္တို႔ ေပးႏိုင္တာ စိတ္အင္အားပါ။ လက္မွတ္ေတြထိုး၊ အက်ႌအျဖဴေတြ၀တ္ ကိုယ္လုပ္ႏိုင္တာေလး လုပ္ေပးၿပီးေတာ့ အေကာင္းဆံုး ႀကိဳးစားၾကရင္ ေအာင္ျမင္မွာပါ။

ေမြးေန႔ဆုေတာင္းၾကတဲ့ သူေတြ၊ blog မွာဆုမေတာင္းျဖစ္ေပမယ့္ comment ေရးၿပီး ဆုေတာင္းၾကတဲ့ သူေတြ၊ The week in white logo ေလးနဲ႔ blog ေတြအားလံုးကို က်ေနာ္က ေက်းဇူးတင္ပါတယ္လို႔။

ေမြးေန႔ဆုေတာင္းlinkေတြေပးထားပါတယ္။ ၾကည့္ၿပီး ၾကည္ႏူးေပ်ာ္ရႊင္ႏိုင္ပါေစ။ ဆုေတာင္းေရးတဲ့ blogger ေတြကိုေတာ့ link လုပ္မယ္ဆိုတာ ခြင့္ေတာင္းထားပါတယ္။ အခ်ိန္မရလို႔ ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္မရပဲ တင္လိုက္တာကိုေတာ့ နားလည္ေပးပါေနာ္။

dathana
emotional-corner
thuhninsee
link deleted upon request
link deleted upon request
link deleted upon request

ကို- -ေရ တြန္းတာေလးက လွလို႔ Title စကားလံုး သံုးလိုက္တယ္ေနာ္။

8 comments:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

44th Birthday of (Ko) Min Ko Naing


Photo taken from ncgub. It was taken after his release in 2004 with his beloved parents.


On this day, you marked 44th year of your birth.
In this year, Burma marked 44th year under military rule.

You are again denied to see the free world.
Burma is again denied to be a part of the free world.

Burma would not forget you and
Burma would keep on fighting for you.

For you are the man who sacrifices so much,
For you are the man who Burma needs so much.

Have a pleasant birthday today
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

1 comments:

Words worth to note

Self aggrandizing soldiers, monks in limousines, rather-be-thieves-than-dignified poor moral bankrupts are the people who support this government - from moe-aye.


"ေနာက္လိုက္" ဆိုတဲ့အထဲမွာ ဒီစစ္အာဏာ႐ွင္စနစ္ အဓြန္႕႐ွည္ေအာင္ တစ္ဖက္တစ္လမ္းက ပါ၀င္ပတ္သတ္ေနတဲ့သူ ေတြနဲ႕၊ နဲနဲေလးမွ မဆန္႕က်င္ပဲ ေပ်ာ္ေပ်ာ္ၾကီးေန ေနသူအားလံုးပါ ပါတယ္။ - from dathana

1 comments:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

96 Uprising - Inside Saya San Hall and the release

We were still singing our national anthem and student union songs on our way to Kyait Kasan ground. The injuries suffered from the beatings didn’t kick in then. We could still smile and talk and laugh right in front of the watchful eyes of the soldiers.

Lines and lines of soldiers were waiting for us inside Kyait Kasan ground. The trucks stopped outside Saya San hall, where the National Convention was held then, and unloaded all of us. We had to file in between two lines of soldiers who held their guns like you always see on TV while they were marching. Their bayonets shinning with the sunlight, their faces stern like a rock. Inside the hall, they another line of soldiers guarding the whole hall in all 4 direction as well as yet another line guarding the hall from outside. I had never seen that much security in my life. It was like we were some kind of very dangerous terrorists.

All of us were told to sit on the floor initially and had to fill in our names, NRIC, father’s name, etc, for the school, for the MI (Military Intelligence), and for the SB(Special Branch). We were then separated and asked to sit in our respective schools. By then we noticed Ko Soe Tun was taken to other place. The regime was very good in wicked ideas in deed. They placed YIT students on the white wooden chairs the NC representatives used to sit. All other students were left to sit on the floor (The hall was emptied before we arrived with very few chairs left on the side nearest to the soldiers standing guard on the left of the hall). This was the discrimination, the apparent attempt to put unrest between YIT and other school by giving favor to us. MIs, SBs were busy recording videos and taking rolls of photos of us. We waited and went down to the ground and sat on the floor as others.

By then, many of the students, girls and boys, were passing out on the floors. Some lying on the floor, some holding each other, none of us could sing or laugh anymore. The pain was unbearable then. The students had to find inhalers and water bottles among us to help those who were passing out. No help was received from the regime. Not even a drop of water. It was 2 hours later, at around 8am, that we received our first bottles of water. Even then, the bottles were provided to YIT students only. We had no choice but to rolled it down to the front as a sign of rejection (Saya San hall ground was not flat. It was a slope). They picked up and placed the bottles beside us again and we rolled these again. It was not funny. We were thirsty and hungry. Our last food intake was around 6 or 7pm on 2nd Dec evening at Hledan junction. Yet, we fought on with our hearts even in the custody. It was so encouraging to see all of us had strong determinations.
I didn’t remember when all of the students got the bottles. I didn’t remember whether they provide us any solid food. I only remember I didn’t (most of us didn’t) take any food from them. I did remember they provide Danbauk (I think) to high school students and non-student protestors around noon. I passed my time by staring at a young soldier (he seems to be not more than 15 years old) standing nearest to me. Around noon, we were declared released. They asked YIT to go first but we insisted we be the last group(which we were not). By the time we left, the high school students and ordinary people were having their lunch inside the hall. We were told that they would be released after the lunch. It was later confirmed that they were indeed released.

Thanks to those at YIT, who threatened to go on the streets again if we were not released by noon, we were able to see the world again. Those at YIT managed to gather the list of YIT students arrested and welcomed us warmly. There was a large crowd waiting for us under our famous Building One and we were greeted by loud cheers. I felt overwhelmed by the event. I was almost in tears to see that we cared for each other so much. I couldn’t imagine what would happen to us if the school were closed. We shared our stories with those waiting. Many of us had black marks all over the bodies as a result of the beatings. One of us had a couple of black lines on his face and many more on his face which he got by trying to cover a girl who were beaten when she was boarding the truck. It was the first time in my life I stayed awake for more than 30 hours. With my fellow students beside, I believe I could go more. I will always remember my friends, my fellow students and my fellow protestors which I got to know on that day.
Note: Overall 424 students and 172 non-students were arrested on that 3rd Dec morning.

0 comments:

Friday, October 13, 2006

May 2003 Depayin Report

The proof of how SPDC and USDA organize the massacre

0 comments:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

96 Uprising - The arrest

There were 600 (official number by the junta) of us against probably more than 600 of the soldiers. Every direction I looked, they were no end in sight.
Our arms were interlocked. Our minds united. A colonel walked down from the other side of the road. I kept my eyes on him. It was 3 minutes before 6am on 3rd December 1996 on my watch. The morning light was yet to shine.

He stopped just after our back line. His eyes were filled with hatred; his expression showed he regarded us as his enemies. He then yelled with rage “YITE” (BEAT). The sticks fell onto the heads of the students sitting at the far end from all three directions the army positioned (I did not know whether the police at our left involved in it). They were obviously told to aim the head. They beat and they dragged the students and threw them onto the open trucks. In no time, our first lines were broken and they started beating second lines of students. Some of us stood up and shouted to stop the beatings and offered that we board the truck on our own. But the soldiers didn’t care anymore. They had no intention to stop. They cursed us and they beat us. Be it a boy or a girl. Many of us were already running towards the truck to avoid beatings. And ran did we.

Another group of soldiers were waiting between us and the trucks and greeted those managed to run through with their sticks. I dived under a truck with along with many others. We then emerged from the other side of the truck and tried to board it. However, I noticed the lines of soldiers stationed on the other side of the trucks were also doing the same beatings. Somehow, I managed to board the truck but barely. The truck was overcrowded and I had to tightly grab another fellow’s neck already on it. He knew my situation and he grabbed me with one hand as well. Many were still trying to board overcrowded trucks by then.

Then, another one emerged from underneath the truck and try boarding from the same place as mine. I tried to pull him up with my one hand. He grabbed my hand strongly and tried his best to jump in. In the mean time, a soldier was beating him all along right under my very eyes. Within seconds, he fell backwards on the road. It was not only him who was beaten on the process of boarding the trucks. All of us, including girls were beaten badly that day.

They had to bring in dynas again since the army trucks were not enough for all of us. Those who had to climb down from the trucks and transfer to the dynas were beaten again until they reach on board. These soldiers beat us when we were sitting peacefully, they beat us when we were running, they beat us when we were boarding the trucks. From the start of the beatings until the end, none of us responded physically or even verbally. Yet, they called us destructive elements.

The portrait of Bogyoke was broken and lying on the ground with the flags of fighting peacock. (We were later told that right after the colonel’s order; the soldiers kicked crashed the Bogyoke portrait held by our leader Ko Soe Tun before hitting him on the head. We also learnt the fighting peacock flag was brought down and stepped over by the soldiers.) There were slippers, wallets, purses, water bottles, and bags scattered on the street. These were all lost along with the donation the students received from the people.

Soldiers were positioned in the front seats as well as standings at the backs of the trucks. The line of trucks carrying us inched towards Kyaik Kasan ground just before daybreak.


3 comments:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

White Expression Campaign


White Expression campaign initiated by 88 generation student group kicked start yesterday with encouraging results in Burma. The campaign will last until 18 Oct, which is the 44th birthday of (Ko) Min Ko Naing. 88 students asked for people staying abroad to participate in the campaign as well.

If Burmese people living under brutal military rule dare to wear white, there is no reason why people staying abroad should not. Wearing white here is nothing compare to those who sacrifices their lives in many jails of Burma. It is the least we can do. We need to show our support and we need to let know those in Burma that we care.

Turn the Burmese gathering places into seas of white. Let the respective governments know that we Burmese are truly united against the junta and we truly want democracy, freedom and human rights in Burma.
"Wear White, Stay White"

0 comments:

Friday, October 06, 2006

For those who sacrifice!

















We do not know when they will be released.
We do not know whether they will ever be released.
We do know they will live forever in our memories.

From here, I bow my head.
From here, I wish my best.
For them, for us, for Burma.

1 comments:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

96 Uprising - At the foot of Shwe Dagon

There were almost no street lights along the way towards downtown. We passed Kyimyindine and Ahlone in the dark. The crowd became bigger and bigger as we passed one townships after another. By the time we crossed Pann Soe Dann Bridge, it grew to almost 5000 (that’s my estimate though. The last independent count by foreign journalists was 2000 at Hledan Junction). By the time I crossed the bridge, at a point I was beside Aung San Stadium, I looked back and still could see the crowd coming down. And I was not even in the front.

It was then somebody in front made the tactical error, the error which leads us the violent beatings and arrest. Somehow, the front line marched along the KabarAye Pagoda Road between the Rangoon Zoo and Army office compound. We sensed danger, but at the same time we were so proud to let the army know that we did not fear of marching down right beside them. Many, in fact far too many people opted to left behind and returned back downtown. Just when we reached U Htaung Bo Circle, the front row sighted the riot police moving towards us from opposite direction. Soon, the crowd grew thinner. We had no choice but to turn left on U Htaung Bo street where we were absolutely trapped. Half way along the street, the march stopped. By that time, everyone could see blockade at the top of U Htaung Bo heights, at the foot of Shwe Dagon Pagoda. The riot police had sealed off the road back, the wall of military compound on our left, the army coming towards us from our right basin (the small road coming upwards, which name I never know), we had no where to go and got no chance to escape.

Thankfully, US embassy car was still with us until then. The army set up a line of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder carrying guns with shinning bayonets and almost a leg long stick hanging on their waists on our far right. We were on the left side of the street and soon, dyna trucks were sent to the right side of the road. Almost all the Head of School are presented there. They told us to return to schools, which we agreed but on our own. They demanded we board the dynas and went back to schools, which we objected because we all knew would never reach back schools if we board. After some more very unsafe options our beloved professors presented, all of which we could not follow, one of them told us “We have done our part. Whatever happens later is not our responsibility.” We were shocked to hear that. They were supposed to protect us at all cost. We were their students. We were like their sons and daughters. Anyway, the leaders apologized them for not being able to accept any of their options and promised them we would silently went back schools if the blockade were lift, which the army blatantly refused.

The professors disappeared, the dynas disappeared and we saw fire-engine brought in. To be honest with my feelings, I was quite relaxed at the sight of that fire-engine. Tissues were distributed and instructions to cover the eye were told in case of any tear gas attack (I still have that tissue with me). However, the fire-engine lasted less than 5 minutes. It was never to be seen again.

Being the president of Buddhist Association at YIT, our leader Ko Soe Tun, urged us to say prayers while we are awaiting the outcome. We paid homage to the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, said prayers and shared our good deeds with all the spirits nearby (saying myitta thoat). By the time we finished our prayers, I looked at the US embassy car parked just nearby us and saw an army officer spoken with the person inside. After a few minutes, the car left. It was the defining moment. They have been waiting for that moment. There was no witness left whatsoever.

Very soon after the US car left, the army sent open trucks right beside us. Another row of soldiers were set up in front of the trucks. The riot police were sent to guard our left, which actually was nothing but a pavement and the wall which we were no fool to climb upon. The back row was took over by the army and another row of soldiers coming down in front of us and stood just a step before our front line. The situation was pretty bad. We shifted all the girls in the center and all the big guys at the far ends. I was on the third row from the right. It was now us, the line of soldiers, the trucks, and the line of soldiers. Every single soldiers was equipped the same and standing a step away from us.

0 comments: