Updates From Myanmar – EXO Travel Blog

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Our reduced team is working from home for safety reasons. Our concern is for them, their families, and their friends.

The situation in Myanmar has been completely upended since February. People are caught between Covid, an undemocratic leadership, and an economy spiraling out of control with a currency having lost 60% of its value since February. A far cry from what Myanmar was from 2011 til Jan 21.

Emails do come through mostly although there are frequent cuts and mobile phone signal disruptions are happening. Should you not have heard from us after allowing for the usual response time, please contact us at [email protected]

Twitter: #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar

Monday, 18 October 2021

Around 5000 detainees, young and old, were released on Monday after being held for weeks for participation in street protests and objecting to the repressive tactics applied by the current government.  In the run-up to this release, Myanmar’s current leaders did not allow the ASEAN envoy to meet Aung San Suu Kyi during his upcoming visit to Myanmar, and subsequently, the ASEAN secretariat withdrew an invitation to the military leader for the upcoming ASEAN summit to be held from 26 to 28 October. It was seen as a sign that even am0ng peers in the region, Myanmar’s leadership’s actions are just too outlandish to be accepted to sit at the table.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi’s health, at 76 years, is declining and there is a genuine worry for her well-being. She has recently asked to reduce the lengths of her court appearances due to her frail state. She has been held at an unknown location for more than 8 months and has not been able to talk to her lawyer regularly to prepare her defense. Nothing is known about the medical attention she receives, given that she was not allowed to appear in public or able to talk to the press. There is also no press, or no free press, to talk to, given the controls imposed by the current government, forcing any dissenting and reporting opinions into hiding.

Thursday 22 September 2021

Not much has changed for the good in Myanmar over the last months. The elected leaders are still under arrest as are reporters, local and foreign, with little apparent intention to resolve things other than to drag out any solution and remain in power while subjugating an entire population.  While life in Yangon and some big cities seemingly is normal, there are violent army activities and killing of civilians across the country and an underground movement against the regime has now turned to violence in a desperate but worrying turn.

Monday 19 July 2021

Today marks Martyrs Day in Myanmar, the day General Aung San, the father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated with some of his comrades by political foes in 1947. While he fought for his people and the independence of Myanmar, his daughter, an elected democratic leader, is still kept under house arrest.

With the resurgence of the virus, today in Myanmar people are dying, many in their homes, and crematories are struggling to cope with bodies delivered to their doors. No dialog is being thought to try to go back to a peaceful and ‘normal’ life. Vaccines and oxygen are dramatically scarce in a fight against a pandemic in a country which even under normal circumstances had an underdeveloped health infrastructure, but valiant and dedicated staff doing their all to counterbalance things. Medical staff was brutally targeted in the 2 months of street fights when helping civilians wounded by bullets. Going back to work today would expose them to repression and punishment. This is the outcome the country is facing 5 months after the disruption of what was a hopeful and positive nation in constant development.  Today fear, anger and uncertainty rule, and trust is hard to come by. Brave Myanmar people used to decades of similar hardship in the past are determined to hold looking for the voice of hope.

Monday, 12 July, 2021

The situation remains grim in Myanmar where a resurgence of covid infections and lack of hospital care comes on top of oxygen shortages and the unsolved political situation in a split country. Private persons are not allowed to purchase oxygen cylinders which is adding to the current despair. How much do the people of Myanmar still have to endure?

Friday, 2 July 2021

It has been 5 months since the army re-took power and put elected leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

2200 prisoners were released on Wed 30 June while around 4000 remain in custody.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Today marks Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 76th birthday and as many of her birthdays from 1989 until 2011, she will be spending it locked up and without much celebration.

Friday, 11 June 2021

The deposed leader of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will go on trial this Monday 15 June. Expectations are that she will be sentenced to an indefinite prison or house arrest term. DASSK already has spent more than 15 years under house arrest under a prior military leader.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

One more senseless death. People turning against people in a deadly cycle. In Bagan, local informants, the reviled ‘Dalan’, lead police to a house and an innocent man is shot trying to protect his pregnant wife.


Thursday, 27 May 2021

827 killed.  Approx 4200 detained. The foreign editor of the local newspaper Frontier Myanmar was arrested yesterday at Yangon airport before boarding a flight out. Charges are not known and no statement has been made by the government. Journalists reporting on the current crisis are having much difficulty reporting and expressing their opinion especially if critical of government actions; many have been imprisoned without process.

Monday, 24 May 2021

112 days after her arrest, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is seen today for the 1st time in a court appearance. ASSK vows not to give up and says her party, the NLD, will live on with people. Myanmar is out of the international headlines and street protests are happening at a much-reduced scale and frequency. Economic uncertainty and hardship are now the main concern for people. The outlook is bleak as the whole country returns to darker times last seen more than 1o years ago. The response to street protests was disturbing and shocking and the after-effects will be lasting because the trust has been badly shaken. Clashes between government forces and rebel armies are now taking place upcountry. In Yangon artisanal improvised devices are going off targeting police, soldiers, and local informers, making everyday life difficult.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

100 days since the military government took over.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

The military government announces that no visit from an ASEAN envoy will be allowed for now.

Monday, 2 May 2021

3 months since Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted and 69 days since the first protester died.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Saturday 24 April, a special ASEAN summit on Myanmar took place in Jakarta. The Southeast Asian leaders have called on attending military government leader General Min Aung Hlaing to end violence against civilians.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Detained: 3750.

Thursday,15 April 2021

Death toll at 715.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

1st day of the New Year in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Today is normally be a big celebration day with people splashing each other with water in the streets with nothing but laughter and joy.  The very opposite is happening, nobody is celebrating today.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Death toll at more than 700.

82 deaths just in Bago on the bloodiest day so far for a single location.

Renewed reports of attacks by the army/police on ambulances and medical volunteers.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Death toll at 585, around 3000 detained.

No improvement in sight, the elected leaders remain under arrest, the internet is cut off.

Military forces are sweeping houses at night arresting people for participating in protests and voicing their opinion.

A military spokesman mentioned a 1-year extension until holding elections to the 1- year announcement made at the beginning of February, a major shift away from the 1st announcement.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Death toll at 560.

Soldiers and police continue their offensive, shooting at people, ambulances, and medical volunteers, breaching the Geneva Convention ratified by Myanmar in 1992.

See: https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/in-the-line-of-fire-the-deadly-job-of-covering-mandalays-protests/

See also a CNN report about Myanmar for an insight into the situation on the ground: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2021/04/05/myanmar-protests-army-ward-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Death toll at 540.

All wireless broadband services have been cut off.  The majority of the population relies on these wireless services and there are few FTTH (Fibre-To-The-Home) cabled internet services that remain open. This further restricts what was an already patchy and irregular access to wants to information and communication for citizens and businesses.

Thursday, 1st April 2021

It has been 2 months since the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted in a coup. Since then, Myanmar has descended into chaos and violence.  No end is in sight. More than 500 civilians have lost their lives.  Almost all have been shot either on the streets or in their homes. Read about some of the lives cut short:


Monday, 29 March 2021

Death toll at 420.

Last weekend saw the bloodiest 2 days since the coup with more than 100 killed on Saturday alone. What marked a day of unity for the country 56 years ago, is now the opposite. Even children have fallen victim to bullets. 90% of the dead protesters have been killed by shots to the head. People are trying to cross the borders to Thailand and India to escape the violence.

Friday, 26 March  2021

Death toll at 270.

Yesterday Thursday the streets of Myanmar were empty as people stayed home in a silent protest. Tomorrow Saturday 27 March is Armed Forces Day celebrating the army’s rise against the foreign occupation of Myanmar by the Japanese in 1945. General Bogyoke Aung San, the founder of the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) and the father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under house arrest, did unite the country at that time including many ethnic factions to lead Myanmar to independence from Britain and Japan.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Death toll at an estimated 260, an estimated 2550 detained. 600 were released yesterday from Insein prison.

Today Wednesday, a silent strike takes place with people staying away from work and the streets.

In Mandalay, a 7-yr old girl shot in her home is one of the youngest to be killed since the armed actions started.

A military spokesman expressed sadness at 164 recognized deaths, saying ‘they are also our citizens’. The question is: Why do the soldiers shoot to kill?

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Death toll at 230, 2290 detained.

People are leaving some areas of Yangon for the relative safety of the countryside. The street barricades in Yangon have been cleared in most areas, often forcing civilians to do it.

Many expatriates have left or are leaving Myanmar due to sustained violence and an uncertain outlook.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Death toll at 193.

The level of violence and the amount of filmed horror scenes is unprecedented. It is heartbreaking to see what is happening.

Monday, 15 March 2021

A bloody weekend with 39 civilian fatalities in various cities as protests continue.

Armed forces continue shooting into the crowd. Multiple Chinese-invested factories and properties have been vandalized and set on fire. The UK government has asked its citizens to leave Myanmar ‘unless there is an urgent need to stay’. Martial law has been decreed in some parts of Yangon.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

9 more deadly shootings, mostly in Mandalay today. 1 monk and 1 pregnant woman among the victims. The images and videos are shocking: a nun is seen kneeling on the street in Miytkina imploring police to stop.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

More street protests; more deaths. Police and armed forces use force against civilians. 2 district leaders died in police custody after having been taken away the evening before. No explanation was given to families.

Monday, 8 March 2021

The military government continues to come down on protesters with nighttime arrests and shooting at windows and houses. Terrible pictures of headshot victims by snipers bleeding out on the street.

Wednesday 3 March 2021

More bloodshed and at least 16 more deaths. Shooting with live bullets is taking place again. Snipers have been seen and many of the fatalities are reported to have suffered shots to the head. Medical volunteers are being threatened.

Sunday 28 February 2021

Today has been the bloodiest day of the protests for a return to democracy. Armed forces have opened fire in various locations and 18 people have been killed and multiple more wounded. There are no words to describe how upsetting it is to see unarmed civilians shot at.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Yesterday has so far seen the biggest turnout of people to protest. Some violent incidents did happen in Mandalay and other upcountry cities, while Yangon has stayed calm and the 2 sides have managed to keep emotions under control. People are determined; the situation remains tense.

17 February 2021

Following a press conference by the new government yesterday and after Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were charged with breaching Covid regulations on top of the first charge of possession of 6 undeclared walkie-talkies, widespread civilian disobedience gatherings took place in major cities in Myanmar.

15 February 2021

Over the weekend the situation has unfortunately escalated and it is becoming increasingly tense. As peaceful protests by citizens to return to democracy are continuing, laws protecting the privacy of people and protecting information have been suspended, the internet has been shut down temporarily and armed vehicles are now present on the street of towns including Yangon. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is still detained.

13 February 2021

Police and the armed forces are making nighttime raids during the curfew to detain people in their homes. Some government employees and doctors are refusing to go to work in acts of civil disobedience.

10 February 2021

In spite of restrictions, people are going onto the streets and protesting peacefully in support of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been held since Monday 1st February and has not been allowed to see her lawyer.  1 person has been critically wounded by a live bullet in Naypitaw.

8 February 2021

1 week later, the situation in Myanmar is unresolved. Aung San Suu Kyi and her close collaborators remain under arrest. A list of new designated ministers has been released while communication channels (phone and internet) see regular interruptions and some social media pages are blocked.

There have been some marches on the streets over the last few days, and media report that people are looking to voice their opinion on the recent events. Curfews have been imposed in most of the cities from Tuesday 9 February onward from 8pm til 4 am and gatherings of more than 5 people are not allowed.

2 February 2021

Communication channels (phone and internet) seem to have been mostly restored in Myanmar after a blackout yesterday Monday which lasted into the afternoon.

All our staff should be receiving your emails and replying almost as usual. Our team is working from home and we will do so for the moment as we wait and see how the situation unfolds over the next couple of days.

The overall situation is quiet and people look to resume normal life while the military presence remains in the street.

1 February 2021

Early this morning, news came through that the civilian government leaders in Myanmar, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have been arrested and taken into custody in the capital Naypidaw. A state of emergency has been issued by the military. While some communications are still possible, email and internet could be shut down soon.

At this stage, confirmed details are limited. Our team on the ground has informed us that, aside from a military presence in the streets and cutting off of cell phone services, the streets are quiet and the situation is calm.

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