Danish Ambassador in Myanmar: The military forbids us to share information

Photo: Str / Ritzau Scanpix

The military regime in Myanmar is currently cracking down on protesters, the media, and embassies and according to the Danish Ambassador in Myanmar, John Nielsen, Embassies in the country have been told not to interfere.

In an interview with Ritzau, the Ambassador says that the last week has without a doubt seen a sharp increase in the use of violence by police and the military against the protesters. “Since Sunday, it is clear that the military and police have been allowed to shoot at the protesters,” the ambassador says.

Wednesday was the bloodiest day in the country since the coup. Here 38 people lost their lives and according to UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, at least 54 people have been killed in the country while more than 1700 have been arrested, including at least 29 journalists since 1 February. According to John Nielsen, the escalation of violence against the protesters has meant that they are regrouping themselves differently than before and they no longer walk the streets in large groups but spread out in smaller groups.

The ambassador says that it is clear that the military government is trying to crack down on the media. “The military has imprisoned a lot of journalists over the past week and has a long list of people they are looking for. Some have fled to Thailand, while others have gone underground,” John Nielsen says.

The military has also banned the media from calling it a coup and using the word military junta and at the same time, the government has put pressure on the embassies in the country. “They tell us, among other things, that we must not send out or forward statements or information about what is happening internally in the country because it will be interfering in internal affairs”, John Nielsen says.

According to the Ambassador, the military leaders have come up with a letter in which they say in a “not at all hidden threatening tone” that no one from the outside should interfere in Myanmar’s affairs, and on Friday, Myanmar’s military finally canceled the result of the November election, in which the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory.

“So right now the military leaders are preparing a reform of the electoral system and will hold an election when the military believes it is in control of the situation, the ambassador says.

The United States and Britain have already imposed sanctions in an attempt to put pressure on the military and sanctions are also being prepared in the EU circle, which will probably come at the end of the month. The sanctions will be aimed at military people and their families, John Nielsen says.

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen

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