ASIA/MYANMAR – Civil disobedience puts government authorities in trouble: Christians pray for a peaceful solution

Yangon – “There is determination but also concern among the people during these hours. The State is in crisis because of the actions of the Civil Disobedience Movement. State offices are closed or not working. Throughout the area, even in the suburbs or in the villages, the population does not accept or recognize the leaders or district authorities appointed by the military. Even ordinary security measures are taken care of by the citizens themselves. We are in a difficult and delicate phase, but the people are convinced that they will move forward in peaceful protest for democracy”, said Joseph Kung Za Hmung, a lay Catholic Burmese, editor of the Burmese Catholic newspaper “Gloria News Journal”, on the social tensions in Myanmar and the demonstrations against the military coup on February 1st.

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Yangon – “There is determination but also concern among the people during these hours. The State is in crisis because of the actions of the Civil Disobedience Movement. State offices are closed or not working. Throughout the area, even in the suburbs or in the villages, the population does not accept or recognize the leaders or district authorities appointed by the military. Even ordinary security measures are taken care of by the citizens themselves. We are in a difficult and delicate phase, but the people are convinced that they will move forward in peaceful protest for democracy”, said Joseph Kung Za Hmung, a lay Catholic Burmese, editor of the Burmese Catholic newspaper “Gloria News Journal”, on the social tensions in Myanmar and the demonstrations against the military coup on February 1st.
In the face of this scenario, armed militiamen attacked the demonstrators with sticks, stones and knives, trying to spread fear and terror among the peaceful crowd. People have not stopped protesting for three weeks and more and more citizens are joining the civil disobedience movement across the country.
The presence of provocateurs has led to isolated clashes and increased the number of victims. According to the “Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma” eight people have been killed by security officers or militiamen. Some of them died in military hospitals. Meanwhile, the social network Facebook has removed all accounts linked to Tatmadaw and banned advertisements from military-controlled companies on its platforms.
Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho, at the head of the diocese of Pyay, suffragan of Yangon, explains: “We are living in the time of Lent, in which every Christian is invited to use the weapons of prayer, fasting and charity: this is the path that we will follow as Christians. This is the path that the crucified Christ shows us. Our Catholic communities in Myanmar, which represent just over 1% of the population, pray in every church during the Rosary and the Eucharistic adoration, asking God for a peaceful solution to the crisis the country is experiencing”.
“Young people – observes the Bishop of Pyay – want a free, just and democratic future, and do not accept those who have taken power by force. As Pastors we have asked to set up a negotiating table: resuming the path of dialogue is urgent for the good and prosperity of the country. Myanmar must move away from violence and follow the paths of justice and peace”.