Socialist Worker

The European Union paid and trained the military thugs in Myanmar

Issue No. 2753

Democracy protesters in Myanmar face cops equipped by the EU

Democracy protesters in Myanmar face cops equipped by the EU (Pic: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images)


The European Union (EU) trained and equipped paramilitary police in Myanmar who track and kill democracy protesters.

That’s the shocking conclusion of a report published this week in the respected French newspaper, Liberation.

The EU provided more than 40 million euros—approximately £35 million—to the Myanmar police between 2016 and 2021 to help then prime minister Aung San Suu Kyi keep control of the population.

Now that money is being used by the military regime brutally to suppress the movement for democracy in which hundreds of people have died.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that, as of Tuesday this week, the regime has killed some 753 people and that 3,441 people are being detained.

All the major powers in the West, including the EU, have rushed to condemn the military which took power in a coup in February.

Abuses

They have been particularly vocal about the human rights abuses reported by the United Nations special rapporteur based in the country.

But no European power has wanted to discuss the EU’s Mypol (Myanmar Police) programme. It reportedly trained some 4,500 police officers in techniques, including “crowd management”.

It has also been revealed that arms deals were also part of the arrangement.

Thousands of helmets, shields, and body armour were sold to the Burmese security forces during the pilot phase of Mypol. Now that kit is being used to attack protesters and strikers.

The EU’s excuse for the exercise is that in 2015 Suu Kyi’s new government replaced military rule, and its police needed retraining for civilian rule.

But in 2018 the Suu Kyi government and the military conspired to launch a genocidal attack on the Rohingya Muslim minority—raping, killing and burning its opponents, and driving them into exile.

Myanmar and the fight for democracy
Myanmar and the fight for democracy
  Read More

The government and the military were as one in their defence of the operation.

Despite this, the Mypol programme continued.

The truth behind the programme was that Western powers wanted the Suu Kyi regime to fall under its protection, rather than China’s. Only when the scale of the massacre of Rohingya people became public did the fawning over her government come to a halt.

These revelations should send a message to all those who hope that Western intervention in Myanmar is the key to the victory of the country’s democracy movement.

The continuing strikes, protests and barricades have spread fear through the military regime, which now faces a renewed offensive from a number of ethnic separatist groups.

The power to liberate Myanmar lies with those on the streets, not those powers who helped arm the regime.


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