As public and religious organisations across Burma call on the Burma Army to halt its offensives a protest against the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) was held in Myitkyina, the Kachin State capital, on 31 October.
The protesters held banners urging the Kachin Independence Organisation/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) to immediately halt its offensives against local militias and to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). The protesters also voiced support for the Burma Army policy of clearing people from land in northern Burma.
The protest was led by the northern Burma Shan Tribes Committee.
Of the 1,000 or so protestors the majority were from the Shanni (Red Shan) ethnic group, thought there were also people from the Lisu, Rawang and Lachik ethnic groups taking part.
People protesting against the KIO/KIA in Myikyina
One of the protest leaders, U Tuu Mai, said that the Burmese Government had instructed protesters at a previous protest against the fighting, held in Shwe Gu, southern Kachin State on 29 October, to hold placards saying ‘All Ethnic Armed Groups Need to Sign the NCA’.
U Baran Jar, the leader of an anti-civil war protest held by Kutkai residents in northern Shan State on 31 October, claimed that around 40 people from the Burma Army Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs participated in the Myitkyina protest and held a sign saying ‘We Don’t Want [the] KIA. We Don’t Want [the] TNLA [Ta’ang National Liberation Army]’.
On 3, 6 and 10 October tens of thousands of people took part in protests in Myitkyina and called on the Burma Army to halt its offensives and solve its disagreements through political means rather than violence.
Despite such protests the Burma Army has continued to attack KIA camps in Nhkram Bum and Lai Hpawng Bum in Waingmaw Township every day using heavy artillery, said the KIO Information officer Lieutenant-Colonel Naw Buu.
In a 25 October speech made on the 56th anniversary of the founding of the KIO the group’s chairman, Lanyaw Zawng Hrar said that the KIO had tried to hold political discussions with successive Burmese governments, but the group could not see a way of ending the fighting through political means, even now, with the new NLD government in power.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI