Curfew in martial law areas

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – February 08 Scenes
MoeMaKa February 09 2023

Curfew in martial law areas

On February 1, the military council extended their term for another 6 months, and the next day, they issued an order to rule 37 townships under martial law.

It is seen that there are various criticisms and discussions with different opinions about the declaration of martial law in 37 townships. I have heard criticism that since the illegal arrests, killings, and shootings already exist, the declaration of martial law will not bring anything new. There are also criticisms that declaring martial law makes no sense and will only be a show on paper because these areas are already dominated by the PDFs and the military council is incapable of ruling and controlling them well. Another point of view is that martial law will not affect the PDF forces that are fighting the armed forces, but the civilians living in these areas may lose more rights. Because the military court may charge those who participate, speak and write in support of the PDF activities, and sentence them to the highest punishment, there are views that the civilian population may be more cautious and may have the effect of reducing support for the PDF.

A few days after hearing these views and critical evaluations, the military council issued a curfew order and an order of no gathering of more than 5 people in 24 townships in Chin State, Sagaing Division, Magway Division and Bago Division, which are among the townships that are under martial law. Since the military coup, curfews have been in place in many cities, including Yangon and Mandalay. In big cities, the curfew was after 8:00 p.m., later followed by 10:00 p.m., and now it has been almost two years since the curfew was issued between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. Especially in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay, the time has changed from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. due to requests by businesses such as restaurants. In those days, in small towns, there was already a local order called Section 144 issued by the general administration. However, there is a sense of not being able to strictly enforce it, but of issuing an order and taking action whenever they want.

When the martial law was announced, a curfew was issued from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The order prohibiting people from going out after 6:00 p.m. will cause difficulties for the residents of those areas. The curfew after 6:00 p.m. is a difficult situation for those working in agriculture and fisheries to follow. This is not a problem for the areas that the military council troops cannot control, but towns such as Hakha, Falam, and Tedim are areas controlled by the military council troops, so there is a possibility that the people in the city will face difficulties. If you are seen going out during this time, there is a risk of being shot, and if you are arrested, you are likely to face extortion, torture, and imprisonment.

Therefore, the issuance of curfews in the townships declared under martial law by the military council is to excuse their shootings, arrests, and excessive punishments as violations of martial law. It is an event that may cause more difficulties for the local people to work for a living and a greater loss of their rights.