Thousands of Burmese have taken to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to protest the military regime. What started as a protest against fuel hike on August 15 has now turned into a massive people’s demonstration which includes the highly revered Buddhist monks.
Today, the junta fired tear gas to disperse protesters, who have defied threats by the military. So far, 80 demonstrators, including monks had been arrested. Press freedom remains one of the biggest casualties with communications cut-off, journalists threatened, and their cameras/memory cards confiscated by the police.
More violence is expected in the days to come despite calls by the International community to the military junta to handle the situation diplomatically.
In the midst of this crisis, Article 19, a human rights organisation with special focus on defence and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide has called on the International community to join in full solidarity with the people of Burma and support their peaceful struggle for freedom of expression and democracy:
Dr Agnes Callamard, Article 19 executive director said in the statement “Even despite the relentless freedom of expression restrictions imposed on them, the Burmese people have joined together in an ardent and determined expression of their dissatisfaction towards the regime. We must now use our own freedom of expression to do the same.”
Read the rest of the statement here.
Please support the call by Article 19, by distributing this statement to all relevant persons, organisations and officials. You can start by sending to your respective embassies, especially those of ASEAN countries, to pressure them to immediately and diplomatically engage with Burma on this growing crisis.