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International round up: School strikers defy regime’s violence in Myanmar

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Issue 2758
Health and education workers and university students have been protesting against the coup
Health and education workers and university students have been protesting against the coup (Pic: Flickr/ Prachatai)

Fierce resistance to the military regime in Myanmar is continuing, despite a renewed state crackdown.

On Saturday villagers armed with catapults and crossbows fought a battle with heavily armed security forces in the Ayeyarwady river delta region. This is close to the border with Bangladesh and Thailand.

Some 20 civilian fighters were killed. Around 50 Junta soldiers were killed the next day fighting in the Chin State countryside, bordering India.

Here the army suffered so many casualties that it had to call in air strikes.

And battle continues in cities and towns. The regime ordered all schools to reopen last week. But classrooms remained empty as pupils stayed away and more than half of teachers continued their strike.

The junta has been forced to admit to regional allies that it is not in control of all of Myanmar. This instability is creating fear that fighting could spread to neighbouring countries.

China this week hosted urgent talks with the regime which it has previously backed.

No one in the democracy movement trusts Beijing to be an honest broker. But their patience with the West has also worn thin. Pressure on the streets is creating cracks in the regime. It must continue.

Colombian government’s meagre proposals aren’t enough

After more than a month of furious protests, the right wing president of Colombia Ivan Duque has vowed to make steps to “modernise the police.”

Some 70 people have been killed by police and other security forces since the government announced higher taxes on everyday goods. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in a broad anti‑government movement. Demands are now being made for health and education reforms.

Duque has proposed that police have more training and a new human rights directorate be set up. But protesters are calling for the abolition of the death-dealing squads.

Meanwhile talks between the National Strike Committee—that claims to represent the protesters—and the government have once again stalled.

This was due to the government’s refusal to secure the right to protest and condemn the violence that activists have faced.

Protests, strikes and roadblocks have forced Duque to make concessions, despite his brutal repression.

Only further protests and strikes will win transformative change.

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