Burma: the crackdown continues - Birmania: la represión continúa

martes, octubre 09, 2007

(en español al final)

From webindia:

In talks on Oct 2 with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, Myanmar’s junta head Senior General Than Shwe agreed to personally meet with Suu Kyi on the preconditions that she drop calls for “confrontation” with the regime and end her support for Western sanctions, imposed on the country since 1988 in the aftermath of the military’s brutal crackdown on its own people that left an estimated 3,000 people dead.

Observers fear the preconditions are a manoeuvre to place blame on Suu Kyi if the dialogue fails to take place.

More about the detention centers built after or during the “saffron revolution” h/t to Enzo, Kate and John:

According to Western diplomats and at least one Burmese government official, the Yangon’s technical institute has become a temporary concentration camp for 1,700 of the victims of last week’s brutal suppression of the democracy uprising. It provides a partial answer to one of the lingering questions about the Burmese junta?s crackdown: where are the monks, democracy activists and journalists who have been rounded up and spirited away over the past six weeks?brazo herido
The only thing of which one can be sure is that somewhere in the country large numbers of people are being held in an invisible prison camp, without charge, without legal recourse and without the ability to communicate.

Image: hurt arm by a police batton. From Ho htike.

Or their bodies are cremated to ensure that the actual death toll is never known:

The Burmese army has burnt an undetermined number of bodies at a crematorium sealed off by armed guards northeast of Rangoon over the past seven days, ensuring that the exact death toll in the recent pro-democracy protests will never be known.

The secret cremations have been reported by local people who have seen olive green trucks covered with tarpaulins rumbling through the area at night and watched smoke rising continuously from the furnace chimneys.

They say they have watched soldiers in steel helmets blocking off roads to the municipal crematorium and threatening people who poke their heads out of windows overlooking the roads after the 10pm curfew.

Their accounts have been volunteered to international officials and aid workers in Rangoon, Burma’s main city. The consensus in the foreign community is that the consistency of the stories makes them credible.

The Government has begun making false accusations on the monks:

The article defended security officers who had rounded up all the monks during the monastery raids, claiming that they were unable to distinguish between the real monks and imposters and so had to arrest everyone.

Among the items that had reportedly been found during the raids were alcohol, pornographic and sexual materials, women’s clothing, anti-government literature and a variety of weapons. Waiting [Oh, yeah, and plans to build a nuclear weapon… This people thing we are all idiot. Even if that was the case, it does not justify such a crackdown…].

U Gambira, a spokesperson for the People?s Movement Leader Committee, dismissed the claims.

“People of Burma and the whole world know whether these accusations being made about monks by the junta are really true or not. Monks are peaceful people and we don’t need to give any answer to the government’s claims as everyone knows the truth. But still, I would like to say this is a very bad thing the [Burmese government] has done,” he said.

And has continued with the massive detentions:

Even as the Burmese military junta continues its crack down, the number of Burma?s opposition political party members who are being arrested has risen to over 400, an activist group said today.

The Thailand based Assistant Association for political Prisoners - Burma (AAPP-B) said despite the regime’s announcement that it had released several protesters, rampant midnight raids on the residence of activists and opposition party members (the National League for Democracy) continues.

K Bo Kyi, Secretary of the AAPP-B said the junta has categorized those arrested into three groups: activists, those joining in the protests and bystanders or onlookers applauding the protesters.

Those released are mainly bystanders or onlookers who had cheered the demonstrators,” Bo Kyi said.

But people are speaking about what really happened:

The violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Tamwe Township and Sule Pagoda in Rangoon on September 27 was the most brutal of all, according to witnesses.

The crackdown took place near State High School No 3 a witness recalled to The Irrawaddy. “They [the security forces] rammed into the middle of the crowd in a truck. Two women were killed immediately. At least 30 people died in the incident.”

The witness added that the two women were mothers of students and they had just come to pick up their children from school.

“It was disgusting,” said the witness, adding that security forces used rubber bullets when they opened fire into the crowds, as well as teargas and batons.

Another witness said that the truck was full of troops and they opened fire at the protesters. One student who held the flag at the front of the rally was the first to be shot, he said.

A resident who was involved in the protest on September 27 said that soldiers blockaded the demonstrators from both ends of the street and then opened fire into the crowd. Protesters ran in different directions. Some climbed on the buildings and some jumped into doorways.injuried monk

Worried Right: injured monk in one of the protests.

And the people are flying Burma and arriving in the neighbour countries, speaking about more brutality by the Burmese military:

A group of four women, one carrying her baby daughter, stopped by in front of a restaurant near the ?Friendship Bridge? that links Myawadi in Myanmar and Mae Sot in Thailand on Saturday morning.

Myawadi is located around 400 kilometers east of Yangon while Mae Sot is Thailand?s westernmost city, some 400 kilometers northwest of Bangkok

Looking exhausted and frightened, one of the women said that they had come from Shan State, hundreds of kilometers north of Myawadi, and wanted to cross the bridge to go to Thailand

“Our village was burned down by soldiers, and the men were killed or taken away by them. We can’t go back,” the woman, who said her name was Naw Ester, said through an interpreter

But we heard that there is a place across the bridge that can give us free medication and shelter. My sister was wounded in her leg from a soldier’s bullets during the attack,” she saidmonk, pointing at another young woman who was wearing a bandage on her leg.

Ho-htike has posted several videos on the repression and several drawings about the boycott of Beijing Olympics to save Burma. Something which should be done only considering Chinese situation:

It’s a fantasy to expect the regime that produced the Tiananmen Massacre to stop its Burmese friends from killing protesters.

Countries should boycott the Beijing Olympics. They should do so not because of what has been unfolding in Rangoon or in Darfur, but for what has been happening in China itself. The Chinese Communist Party should never have been awarded the Olympics in the first place.

And the worst of all, which proves that the UN is totally unable to handle this type of crisis h/t Theo Spark:

Burma’s ruling junta is attempting to seize United Nations computers containing information on opposition activists in the latest stage of its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, The Times has learnt.

UN staff were thrown into panic over the weekend after Burmese police and diplomats entered its offices in Rangoon and demanded hard drives from its computers.

The discs contain information that could help the dictatorship to identify key members of the opposition movement, many of whom have gone underground. UN staff spent much of the weekend deleting information.

The stream of dramatic images of tens of thousands of monks parading through Rangoon inspired condemnation of the Government across the world. On Saturday, demonstrations denouncing the regime were held as far apart as Sydney, Singapore, London and Washington.

Others writing: Roger L. Simon.

(+) There is an attempt to send Gral Than Swe to International Criminal Court.

Como ya he mencionado en posts anteriores, el General Than Swe, el carnicero birmano -mi apodo, al que no le guste, Phbbbttt- dijo que quería reunirse con Aung San Suu Kyi, pero la única Premio Nobel que está en arresto domiciliario (se ha pasado en esta situación 11 de los últimos 18 años) ya le ha contestado que no. La oposición teme que es una maniobra para echarle la culpa a ella de que no haya diálogo.Mientras se van conociendo más datos de cómo se ha producido la represión.En Yangún hay 1.700 personas detenidas en el Centro Politénico, por lo que podemos hacernos una idea de dónde han ido al menos algunos de los 6.000 detenidos que, se considera, lo han sido durante la represión. Lo peor es que están siendo retenidos -además de torturados, con una probabilidad del 99,9 periódico %- sin cargos, sin recursos legales y sin poder comunicarse con el exterior.

También se sabe que la policía ha quemado un número indeterminado de cadáveres en el crematorio de Rangún, que está cerrado a cal y canto. Los testigos dicen haber visto cómo llegaban camiones militares cubiertos que se dirigían al crematorio cuyas chimeneas funcionaban continuamente. Otra causa más de por qué no hay cadáveres y por qué nunca habrá una cifra oficial de muertos en esta represión [Especialmente dedicado, Patroclo].

Pero la bajeza del régimen va a más. El régimen ha hecho redadas por los monasterios budistas y ha acusado a los monjes de tener alcohol, material pornográfico y sexual, ropa de mujer, literatura anti-gubernamental y variedad de armas. Y yo soy Muhammad Ali, no te digo. Imaginemos que esto fuera verdad: ¿el que unos monjes tuvieran alcohol y literatura pornográfica y anti-gubernamental justifica lo que hemos estado viendo? Para mí, que no.

Claro, que como dice U Gambira, el portavoz del Movimiento del Pueblo, “el mundo ya ha visto lo que ha pasado aquí”. O sea que las acusaciones son más falsas que un duro de cuatro pesetas.

Y siguen las detenciones: ayer 400, a pesar de que, según el gobierno del carnicero birmano, habían soltado a muchos. Incluso eso tiene truco: han soltado a los que sólo pasaban por allí, se quedaban mirando o aplaudían.

Según los testigos el día más brutal fue el pasado 27 de septiembre, cuando los soldados cercaron a los manifestantes al lado de la pagoda de Rangún y abrieron fuego sobre la multitud. Los primeros asesinados fueron dos mujeres y un estudiante que enarbolaba una bandera al principio de la manifestación. Cuando la gente vio que disparaban, intentó escapar como pudo, subiéndose por las fachadas o metióndose en los portales.

Los refugiados están empezando a llegar a los países de alrededor. A Tailandia están llegando la mayoría. Muchos cuentan la dura represión que está teniendo lugar en sitios apartados. Dos mujeres -una de ellas con un pie vendado- y con una niña en brazos, declararon que venían del Estado Shan y que su ciudad había sido completamente quemada por los soldados. Los hombres habían sido asesinados o hechos prisioneros. Añadieron: “por eso no podemos volver atrás. Pero hemos oído que pueden darnos medicinas y cobigo gratis. Mi hermana ha sido herida en un pie de un disparo de un soldado durante el ataque“.

Así, los blogueros birmanos siguen pidiendo con insistencia el boicot a los Juegos Olímpicos chinos, sin darse cuenta de que lso chinos están sufriendo en silencio lo que hemos visto estos días en Birmania. También en China hay represión de las pequeñas revueltas campesinas que se producen cada vez más a menudo.

Por último, la Junta birmana está intentando tener acceso a los ordenadores de la ONU, que contienen información sobre los activistas que han tomado parte en las manifestaciones. Los trabajadores de la ONU vivieron momentos de pánico cuando policías y militares birmanos entraron en sus dependencias y exigieron que se les entregaran los discos duros de los ordenadores. Los discos pueden ayudar a identificar a opositores que ahora están viviendo a escondidas. Los trabajadores de la ONU han borrado los discos duros para impedir que la información caiga en manos del Gobierno.

No tengo palabras.

Post relacionados: el Movimiento Stalin Vive, con su peculiar sentido del humor, nos trae las “noticias sobre Myanmar”, incluyendo un un poster de homenaje al Generalísimo Than Shwe (¿por qué todos estos tiranos serán tan refeos -como dirían en Sudamérica-? Rolling on the floor ).

(+) Actualizo el post para señalar que hay una proposición para llevar al General Than Shwe (el carnicero birmano) al Tribunal Penal Internacional. Yo la apoyo.

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