Myanmar junta drumming up support


Aizawl : The military junta in Myanmar is organising rallies next week to coerce people into supporting the regime and to oppose the pro-democracy movement, according to information reaching this Indian city.

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Myanmar residents claim that the junta is planning rallies Oct 9 and 10 and has ordered schoolteachers, students, government employees and villagers to attend meetings or conventions in their areas.

“Preparations for the convention are going on across the country. In our city the convention is taking place at the Halkha Sports Ground and all the people have been told to attend,” a resident of Halkha, the capital city of Myanmar’s Chin state, told IANS by telephone.

Several exiled Myanmarese residents alleged that the junta has been organising such conventions annually since 1993 with an aim to force people into supporting the military rule.

Helen Zorampari, a former resident of Halkha, said the convention was a ploy by the military rulers to drum up support for the regime at gunpoint.

“In the past as well, the junta forced all the government employees and two members from each family to participate in the convention. Journalists of the government-controlled media cover such conventions and publicise the event in a big way,” said Zorampari, who lives in exile in Mizoram.

“I participated in one such convention as a school girl in Myanmar. It was horrible – we were fed up with the military regime, yet we had to show our support. Government officials who refused to participate in such functions are dismissed from service,” Zorampari added.

Another exiled Myanmarese, Cherry Hauzel, echoed similar thoughts.

“The army formed some dummy civil organisations which persuade or rather secretly force people to participate in the conventions,” she said.