torsdag 18. mars 2021

War Zone of Hunger and Fear in Yangon as Myanmar’s Last Independent Newspaper is Shut Down

An intensified crackdown has made a war zone out of suburbs of Myanmar’s largest city, which were put under martial law early this week, with soldiers shooting protesters on sight and workers facing starvation, witnesses and aid workers said Wednesday as the regime pulled the plug on the country’s last independent newspaper. Security personnel have started an intimidation campaign in six of Yangon’s satellite townships — North Okkalapa, North Dagon, South Dagon, Dagon Seikkan, Hlaingthaya, and Shwepyitha — where martial law was declared March 14, and phone and Wi-Fi services have been blocked, locals said.

Police and soldiers are opening fire randomly in residential areas and at individual residences, clearing areas street by street, and beating and arresting all suspects, while thousands of people are fleeing the violence and shortages of food and drinking water, they said. “Police and soldiers even stop and search motorbike riders and bicyclists,” said one township resident who did not provide his name. “If they find anything that looks like a weapon, like slingshots, they will make an arrest.”

Another resident said that when security forces stopped cars and motorbikes in one area of the township, they asked drivers to pay bribes to get their confiscated vehicles back.