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In recent weeks, the world has witnessed the largest peaceful street protests against the military government to take place in Burma since the brutal 1988 military crackdown on students. The number of protesters reached a new high of over 100,000 on 24 September.
On 26 September, the military government declared a dawn to dusk curfew. Despite this, monks and ordinary Burmese citizens continued to take to the streets in protest. In response, Burma police fired tear gas into crowds of protesters and used their batons to beat the unarmed citizens, which included students and monks.
theonlinecitizen (TOC) strongly condemns the military regime's violent response to peaceful protesters and calls on the Burma government to refrain from any further crackdown.
TOC applauds the hundreds of thousands of brave Burmese civilians who are risking life and limb to peacefully voice out their disgust with the failed policies and the brutal and undemocratic behaviour of the military government.
We note that the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) has expressed its "sheer disappointment and concern" about the use of brutal force by the military regime in Burma. TOC agrees with AIPMC's president, Zaid Ibrahim, who said, “The reaction of Myanmar’s authorities towards the peaceful protesters is totally unacceptable. The junta have really crossed the line now and AIPMC strongly calls on the regime to immediately stop the use of harmful means to disperse the crowds.”
We also note that the Singapore Government has stated that it is "deeply concerned by reports of clashes between protestors and security forces in Yangon" and has "urge(d) the Myanmar authorities to exercise utmost restraint".
TOC calls on the Singapore Government, the current chairman of ASEAN, to coordinate with fellow ASEAN members to take immediate and concrete steps to intervene in the situation to prevent further violence against civilians. ASEAN member states should not be seen to be standing idly by as the Burmese junta continues to use disproportionate force and violence against defenceless civilians.
Finally, TOC appeals to the governments of India and China to use their strong influence to caution Burma's military government not to crack down violently on their own citizens in their effort to hold on to power.
The Editorial Team
ASEAN Vision 2020
“We envision the ASEAN region to be, in 2020, in full reality, a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, as envisaged in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration of 1971.
ASEAN shall have, by the year 2020, established a peaceful and stable Southeast Asia where each nation is at peace with itself and where the causes for conflict have been eliminated, through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and through the strengthening of national and regional resilience.”
“We envision our nations being governed with the consent and greater participation of the people with its focus on the welfare and dignity of the human person and the good of the community.”