Independence Day & Amnesty: Kyainseikgyi Raid

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 04 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 05, 2023

Independence Day & Amnesty: Kyainseikgyi Raid


The military council’s leader, Min Aung Hlaing, has been  hosting ceremony and giving out titles such as the Sithu Title and the Thiri Pyanchi Title, etc., since 3 days before Independence Day. On Independence Day, while holding the ceremony for it on the grand military parade ground, the order was announced to grant amnesty for more than 7,000 prisoners and to allow 1/6 of their punishment to be relieved for those convicted under certain sections on this morning, January 4.


To calm the hearts of the people and to convince them of the goodwill and loving-kindness of the state, in addition to commemorating Independence Day, the military leader is granting amnesty to those charged under Section 401. It said that the remaining punishment to be served is waived, and if the same offense is committed again, it must be served again.


Of the over 7,000 released people, it is currently not possible to say exactly how many political prisoners there are. In some divisions and states, tens to hundreds of political prisoners are included among the released. I heard that about 38 prisoners who were arrested and punished for political reasons have been released from the Pathein prison.


According to the news, prominent persons among the released were Daw Than Myint Aung, U Htin Lin Oo, and the former minister Thura U Aung Ko. They were released from Insein Prison in Yangon, and many other activists who were not members of the NLD were also released. There was no one released who was involved in armed attacks or who participated in urban guerrilla activities. According to the journalist community, about 8 of the journalists in the whole country were released. Activists for labor rights and those who participated in the general strike committee were also among those released, and also, Dr. Arkar Moe Thu from the Union of University Teachers was also included. One of the poets, Myo Tayzar Maung, from Nay Pyi Taw was also among those released. However, none of the former states and divisions’ prime ministers of the NLD party were included.


When you look at the number of political prisoners and the status of those released today, you will see that NLD activists and those who attempted armed attacks are not included. It can also be concluded that those opposing the military council who are not on the path of armed attack are released, limiting the number of people to be released by releasing them at least twice a year.


I heard that some activists from the General Strike Committee, among those who only carried out ground activities, were released on Independence Day. Around March 2021, some of those who participated in the protests against the strikes were freed.


On the one hand, this release may be intended to allow the freed people to participate in the election process. In his speech today, the leader of the military council also referred to how the election will be held.


The election is more of an attempt to reduce political pressure than the military council’s political exit, and it is more like a form of administration by generals in Mufti than military rule.


While Independence Day was being celebrated in Nay Pyi Taw and some big cities, the KNU Battalion and PDF joint forces have been attacking the military council battalion base in Kyainseikgyi Township of Karen State since December 31st, and the news reported that it is still going on until Independence Day. News photos of the raid on the battalion can be seen on social media, and the military council is attacking with air support. Battles are also taking place near the villages such as Anankwin and Taung Sun, near the road to the Mudon, Kyainseikgyi and Payathonzu within the KNU Brigade-6 area.


It has been 75 years since Myanmar’s independence, but the civil war is still raging and the custom of controlling power using weapons of militarism still exists.