State Administration Council’s endeavours for State peace and stability and rule of law in February 2021

There were more than 39.2 million eligible voters at the general election held on 8 November 2020, but the initial checks showed that the margin of error exceeds 10.4 million. Hence, the political parties, the candidates and the Tatmadaw made demands to the UEC, the Hluttaw and the government to solve the matter in accord with the law. Although complaints were sent to the National Defence and Security Council for two times, they were ignored, and attempts were even made to summon the first regular session of the third Hluttaw to form a new government. The three organs of State power have been exercised in accord with Sections 417 and 418 of the Constitution since 1 February 2021. The State Administration Council was set up in accord with Section 419 of the Constitution.

Daily demonstrations were in a peaceful atmosphere in the earlier period, but the demonstrations turned to riots and then to anarchic mobs who committed vandalism in some major towns after 9 February. The State Administration Council tackled the issues in the softest ways without declaration of the martial law stipulated in Section 413 of the Constitution during the emergency period as declared in accord with Section 417 of the Constitution if necessary and restriction of the fundamental rights of citizens in accord with section 420 of the Constitution.

The State Administration Council has been established and assigned in accord with Sections 417 and 418 of the Constitution, without abolishing it. But till 3 February, the international community used the term as ‘military coup’. But later, it started using the term ‘State Emergency’.

While the State Administration Council is carrying out the management and administrative functions in accord with the law, certain groups that are against the national peace and stability made attempts with the intention of cutting off the currency flow by halting the banking services and stopping the transport services. In order to stop the office machinery, they also organized the civil servants, launched the Red Ribbon Campaign, and later accelerated the momentum of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Till 7 February, the demonstrations were staged in a peaceful way. But later, the demonstrators become mobs applying coercion, intimidations and pressures through the attempts to accelerate the CDM. As a public warning to prevent the occurrence of any undesirable outcomes, Section 144 of the criminal procedure was imposed in some cities on 8 February.

On 9 February, mobs tried to block the ferries of the civil servants who did not take part in the CDM near the Thabyaygon roundabout in Nay Pyi Taw and block the rail tracks not to leave the train for Yangon in Mawlamyine through violent means. They also tried to attack the convoy of the chairman of Mon State Administration Council, attacked security forces from all directions with rods, stones, catapults and iron hooks on 38th street between 76th and 78th streets in Mahaaungmyay Township, Mandalay, captured and hit a policeman on duty to death for no reason. So, the security members had to do their work with minimum force at the least level in accord with the procedures. In Nay Pyi Taw, a woman died, some vandals were injured, and some were arrested when the security forces calmed down the situation. Some of the security members were seriously wounded in the incident.

On 17 February in Mandalay, mobs blocked the rail tracks with concrete blocks and old rails to halt public transport. They even placed the passengers in harm’s way by making the points un-operational. When the security forces came to clear the blocks, the mobs attacked them with sticks and knives. On 20 February, crowds of riotous protesters from CDM have blocked security forces and violently attacked with sticks and knives with an attempt to abduct the security personnel not to leave two passenger vessels owned by Ayeyawady Branch of Inland Water Transport at Gawwein Jetty in Mandalay. Further, security forces, which reinforced to the blocked security forces, were also under siege with violent attacks of iron hooks, sticks, knives, harpoons and nuts committed by crowds of rioters. Hence, the security forces unavoidably performed the violence crackdown procedure. In the event, 12 security personnel were seriously injured, five security vehicles damaged, and two rioters were dead. Likewise, civilians quarrelled with each other in Shwepyitha Township of Yangon Region, leaving the injured. Due to imposing the curfew order, the family of the injured person requested the local police force to send the injured to the hospital. While sending the injured to the hospital, rioters closely committed violent attacks on security forces with sticks and knives. So, security forces opened warning fires, leaving one rioter dead. At the same time, rioters violently blocked ward and village administrators not to go to the offices, severally locked some administrator offices, blocked the compounds of the administrator offices in various ways with attempts to deteriorate the necessary administration machinery of the State Administration Council. Moreover, a crowd of rioters attacked the administrator and some civilians in the ward administrator office of Shwepyitha Township with sticks and knives at night for reasonless. Although incitements in various ways and means through social networks were committed to blocking retired service personnel not to go to the banks and not to take out pensions from the banks on 22 February, as the State Administration Council issued warnings of announcements, retired service personnel could peacefully take out their pensions.

On 25 February, those who incited riotous and destructive acts of NLD members and stooges relying on foreign countries in various ways and means hindered and disturbed those who peacefully staged protests in support of the State Administration Council in Mingala Taungnyunt Township in Yangon Region, Taunggyi in Shan State (South), Myanaung and Ngaputaw townships in Ayeyawady Region, Taungup Township in Rakhine State, Thuwunnawady and Thanbyuzayat in Mon State and Kyunsu Township in Taninthayi Region. After the peaceful protests, individuals of the peaceful protesters and vehicles were closely attacked and damaged with sticks and knives. Moreover, rioters forcibly took off the clothes of the peaceful protesters in crowds for discrediting and committed violent acts such as hitting without reason and shaving the heads of peaceful protesters. Hence, security forces solved the problems in areas of respective incidents.

NLD followers and stooges relying on foreign forces in various ways and means imposed pressure, threats and coercion to service personnel and people in order to participate in the CDM and public movements. Crowds of NLD followers and the stooges committed pressure, threats and public punishment with acts of losing individual rights and human rights to discredit those who did not participate in the CDM and public movements. International communities define although CDM is a non-violent movement in any government, department and business organization, it is an act that is not in line with the law. So, acts of those who incite CDM, those who put pressure on others and those who lawlessly attack the service personnel in the legal fold as offenders in the society are cases of deeply breaking the law. As such, all are urged not to accept incitements that deform the CDM as reality. In reviewing the current situations, protests were transformed into riots under the disguise of CDM and then into anarchic mob step by step. It was learnt that severe action would be taken against those who break the law in accord with the procedure of the rule of law.

Rumours on setting arson and putting poisons were spread to cause public panic in some major cities with the forms in the disarray of security machinery, showing that community and road security measures are being taken under the arrangement of respective communities similar to that of uprisings in some big countries. Peaceful protests were turned to lawlessly violent acts as riots in major cities. On 26 February, criminal measures and punishments for riots of Section 144 of Criminal Procedure were announced on MRTV and MWD TV channels and State-owned newspapers, with warnings to urge the people to abide by the prescribed laws, and if not, action will be inevitably taken against the offenders.

Although the warnings had been issued, violent crowds, neglecting the warnings, committed violent acts, confronted security forces and threatened their lives by committing violence with cudgels, knives, arrow slingshots, iron fist rings and baseball bats in a lawless and anarchist manner, destroying some houses and shops of innocent people, state-owned vehicles and traffic police booths and pouring boiling water from upper floors of apartment buildings on security forces on 27 and 28 February. Security forces inevitably dispersed the crowds after warnings repeatedly by using riot control weapons in accordance with the rights to self-defence of the riot control procedures in accordance with the law. On 27 and 28 February, some rioters were detained while four persons from Dawei, two persons in Bago, one person in Magway, three persons in Yangon and one person in Mandalay died. One person detained in Mandalay died of COVID-19, and he was properly buried.

Despite the declaration of section 144 of the Criminal Procedure in some cities for public peace and the rule of law, the State Administration Council watched peaceful protests patiently and issued some warnings until 8 February. After 22 February, due to violent protests that undermined public peace, threats and hindrances to the administrative and management mechanism of the State, gang violence that breached individual freedom, dignity and human rights, destruction and confrontation, security forces issued warnings step by step in accordance with rules and regulations and dispersed violent crowds with the use of minimum force to minimize the injuries. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, security forces handled dispersal of violent crowds with the use of minimum force inevitably and more leniently than some powerful countries did. The State Administration Council requests the public to conduct one’s own livelihood peacefully and to abide by section 144 of the Criminal Procedure without accepting the instigations of NLD members, supporters and stooges that rely on external forces.

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