The following news release was issued by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO on February 2.
APALA Condemns Myanmar’s Military for Their Use of Violence to Undermine Democracy
As a labor organization that represents AAPI workers across the nation, including Burmese workers, APALA condemns Myanmar’s military for their use of force and violence to undermine democracy and target labor leaders.
On February 1st, the Myanmar military detained elected top government officials, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that won the majority of the seats during the November elections. The military then declared a year-long state of emergency, installing Vice-President and former lieutenant-general Myint Swe as the acting President, who immediately handed over power to the commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. They are justifying their actions through referencing the 2008 constitution and calling the elections rigged.
Internet connections and phone lines throughout the country have been disrupted and disconnected altogether , soldiers patrol the streets of Yangon, pro-democracy activists have been arbitrarily arrested, with incoming reports of increased detentions. There is rising fear of lethal violence to come.
APALA Texas Chapter Leader and SIU Appointee Shwe Aung states, “I am worried about my union siblings in Burma. Here in the US, we feared former President Trump and his supporters would undermine the elections and take over by force, and that is what is happening in Burma right now. We cannot trust the information they are spreading. We must organize to uplift people on the ground. I will be trying my best to stay connected with the people of Myanmar and relay that information.”
APALA Organizing and Civic Engagement Fellow and Michigan Chapter member Dim Mang states, “As a Chin person, I see the military’s actions as one in a long line of oppression and blatant overturning of the will of the people of Burma. This is an issue of ethnic solidarity as well, because though the detained NLD members and other activists should be released, we must not forget about the decades of armed conflict and human rights abuses before this coup – a lot of which the NLD abetted as well. As an organizer based in the United States, this issue really does fall into a bigger picture of global solidarity against militarization and in advocacy of self-determination.”
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