Destroying the Opposition

SHWE TAUNG // A small town on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River near Pyay District, the city is a NLD stronghold and home to a large number of civil servants. The main protest leaders, including Kyaw Zeya, a local politician long engaged against military rule, and Hla Thwin, who served as chairman of the Shwe Taung Township ‌Election Commission in the 2020 election, were arrested a month after the coup.

In the early evening of March 21st, soldiers and police raided the home of an NLD supporter, following the tip of a pro-junta source and fired shots as they couldn’t find her. Around 11pm, residents of the town were frightened by the sound of more than forty artillery shells which were fired by the military on the outskirts of town. From that night, continuous gunshots rocked Shwe Taung, plunging the residents into a living nightmare and forcing them to stay silent and turn off all lights for the duration of each assault. Such episodes of intimidation have occurred in most opposition strongholds, with soldiers threatening inhabitants by loudspeaker that they will rape the women and enslave the men if they don’t stop protesting and building barricades. Still detained in an unknown location, ASSK has been charged with dozens of trumped-up corruption cases and the official dismantling of the NLD is said to be imminent.