Time to Pray and Speak Out: The Continuing Repression in Myanmar

Time to Pray and Speak Out: The Continuing Repression in Myanmar

More than 100 anti-coup protestors were killed in Myanmar on March 27, 2021. Security forces opened fire in more than 40 locations that included Yangon, Kachin in the north and Taninthartharyi in the far south. Amidst all the bloodshed, the Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his generals threw a lavish party that night for Armed Forces Day.

More than 400 people have now been killed in the suppression of protests in Myanmar since the 1 February coup. In addition to the dead, more than 3,000 demonstrators have been arrested, charged or sentenced.

A dozen nations issued a rare joint statement condemning the military’s violent actions. The US, Japan, and Australia who were among the signatories of a statement that said: “A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves.”

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the military of “sacrificing the lives of the people to serve the few.” UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews called for an international emergency summit. China and Russia have not joined the criticism, which means taking action through the UN Security Council – where they have vetoes – could be difficult. Representatives of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand attended a parade that marked the occasion.

Neither side – the military nor the pro-democracy movement – is willing to back down. The military thinks it can terrorize people to achieve “stability and security”. But the movement on the streets, led by young people, is determined to rid the country of the military regime.

Churches in Myanmar are small and many, and have very little public space. As such, their voices are not often audible enough. Yet, they do persist and participate in the struggles for freedom. The people and churches in Myanmar require prayerful accompaniment and solidarity from the Christian community around the world.

Based on newspaper reports