Burma: resistance escalates as Suu Kyi sentenced
Ousted Burmese state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, was found guilty Dec. 6 of "incitement" and breaking COVID restrictions—but the first of a series of 11 charges that could see her imprisoned for life, with potential combined terms of up to 100 years. For these initial two charges, she was given a four-year sentence; junta chief Min Aung Hlaing ordered it reduced it to two years. Deposed president Win Myint, 69, convicted on the same charges, also had his sentence commuted from four years to two. They will each be able to serve the two years at their undisclosed "current place of detention," where they have been held since the February coup d'etat. (BBC News, Myanmar Now, The Irrawady)
Despite harsh repression, protests continue against the junta—now usually organized through social media as "flash mobs." On Dec. 5, a military truck rammed into a crowd of protesters at Kyimyindaing township in Yangon. Soldiers then opened fire on the fleeing protesters, and beat the injured who had fallen to the ground with their rifle butts. At least five were killed and several injured. Troops also reportedly aimed their rifles at people watching from their apartments. Video footage shows marchers holding a large banner reading "FREEDOM FROM FEAR" moments before the truck ploughs through their ranks from behind. The incident was condemned by the UN resident coordinator in Burma.
The armed resistance network known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF) has meanwhile carved out a liberated zone in the northern Irrawaddy plains. Thousands of locals have fled their homes amid attacks by junta soldiers as part of Operation Anawrahta, a military campaign aimed at crushing the armed resistance in Chin state and Sagaing and Magway regions. (See map) (Myanmar Now)