Breaking and News Brief > Work stoppage in Hlaing Tharyar yet again

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Workers in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone No. 3 went on a wild cat strike this afternoon.

“About 1,400 workers in our factory are on strike,” an official of the ‘Mya’ Fashion garment factory said.

“They have been staging the strike since lunch time today demanding better wages. The strike is still on,” he said.

Since lunch time, around 1400 workers struck work demanding an increase in wages. The demonstration was being held outside the factory.

There was no negotiated settlement between factory workers and the management, till the time of writing.

There were two similar labour strikes demanding better wages and other perks in January this year in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone.

About 100 workers from a lobster cold storage in No. 2 Hlaing Tharyar staged a strike on 7 January, while workers from Weng Hong Hung garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar No. 3 industrial zone went on strike on 17 January for better wages.

This month, the regime is mobilizing a group of youths to support it in Paletwa Township.

8 February 2010:With general elections in Burma slated to be held this year the military junta is out to woo the youth for votes. This month, the regime is mobilizing a group of youths to support it in Paletwa Township.

“The authorities are forcing all youngsters to become a member of a new group in each village in Paletwa Township, to ensure votes for the forthcoming 2010 general elections,” said a local in upper Bahlai village in Paletwa Township.

The Burmese Army authorities have ordered youngsters between 10 and 18 years of age to become a member of the new group. Those, who are between 18 and 45 years of age and already members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), Volunteer Firemen and Civil Militia are exempted.

A source said that junta officials had already recruited 15 people of ages between 18 to 45 years for the Civil Militia, 12 persons between 15 and 60 years for the USDA and 15 persons between 18 and 45 years as Volunteer Firemen in villages of Paletwa Township this month.

“The army is now forcibly recruiting youth, who are not involved with the Civil Militia, USDA and Volunteer Firemen as New Blood Youth group and Pioneer Youth group,” a local said.

Such forcible recruitment has led to 20 Chin youths fleeing to Mizoram, a northeast state of India last month.

“If we stay in our village they will forcibly enroll us. It does not benefit us in anyway. Staying in India as refugees is better than becoming members of such groups created by the military junta,” one of those who fled told Khonumthung News.

Most youths in Paletwa Township are trying to escape the military dragnet but they have no money to go out of Chin state. They are suffering under military oppression and are sometimes assaulted by regime officials.

Paletwa Township is the most affected by famine in Chin state. There are four military battalions and 30 military camps in 400 villages in Paletwa Township.- Khonumthung News

Thirty Burmese nationals were deported to Burma

by the Mizoram state authorities in northeast India under the Foreigner’s Act last week.

They were arrested on January 22 in Aizawl city by Mizoram police. Although they were granted bail, they could not afford to pay. They were sent to Mizoram central jail.

Daily newspaper The Aizawl Post reported that the Mizoram government had decided to hand the Burmese nationals over to military authorities of Burma on the Indo-Myanmar border.

“They have been transported to Zokhawthar, Indo-Myanmar border from Bawngkawn police station to be handed over to the Burmese military,” the newspaper said.

Recently, the Home Minister of Mizoram said that Burmese people, involved in crimes will be pushed back to Burma.

He also ascribed the increasing inflow of illegal drugs to Mizoram to the activities of Burmese people from Chin state and other parts of Burma. He had declared that the Mizoram government would take penal action against them.

Most of the 30 Burmese nationals pushed back are wood cutters. This is the first time that the arrested people have been handed over to the Burmese Army.- Khonumthung News

Burma junta asks KIA to form seven battalions of BGF

Burma’s ruling junta has asked the last remaining and largest ethnic Kachin ceasefire group in the country’s north to transform into seven battalions of the Border Guard Force, under the control of the Burmese Army, said sources within the group.
Delegates of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) were asked for the seven battalions during the last meeting between the KIO and the Burmese military at Kachin State’s capital, Myitkyina, on January 29, by Lt-Gen Ye Myint, chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS) and Chief of Naypyitaw, who was appointed negotiator with all ethnic armed groups transforming into BGF forces, said KIO sources.

During the meeting, Lt-Gen Ye Myint, emphasized the failure of the KIO to transform its armed-wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), to the BGF- which was proposed in April 2009, the sources said. Continue reading “Burma junta asks KIA to form seven battalions of BGF”

Rural Thailand Simmers with Anti-gov’t Rage

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

SRANG KHOM, Thailand, Feb 8 , 2010 (IPS) – Meal by meal, a political feast is being laid out under the night sky to nourish a wave of anti-government protests rapidly spreading across this rural heartland. The diners come dressed in their signature red shirts.

This rice-growing town was the latest to join the bandwagon of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), a protest movement with strong links to the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The organiser of the inaugural dinner and fundraiser in Srang Khom, in the north-east province of Udon Thani, were not disappointed. By 7 p.m. an open ground by the side of a harvested paddy field and scrub forest was full of local residents who had come to eat and to listen anti-government tirades delivered from a stage.

“The people wanted to have a Red Shirt event here like other places,” says Suthat Budom, one of the organisers of the Saturday night dinner, referring to the uniform red shirts that the pro-Thaksin protest movement is identified with. “They want real democracy.”

Suthat estimated that over 2,000 locals from five neighbouring subdistricts had filled the 220 tables that were laden with fried rice, fried fish served with sweet and sour sauce, a spicy Thai salad and a Chinese-style soup.

But not all the diners who came for the dinner and political gabfest were from families where growing rice and fishing are the economic mainstays. They included the likes of Sawangsri Bonprasit, a teacher at a local primary school, who proudly announced that she had brought 30 of her colleagues for this first UDD rally in her hometown.

“These events are important to us. They are part of our learning to fight for democracy because it is being destroyed,” Sawangsri declared. “Right now the poor in this area know more about democracy than before. We come here to share this knowledge.” Continue reading “Rural Thailand Simmers with Anti-gov’t Rage”

Karen refugees not to speak to media, otherwise they may face arrest

Karen refugees threatened on media contact
Feb 8, 2010 (DVB)–The Thai army has reportedly told Karen refugees at the centre of a dispute over their forced repatriation to Burma not to speak to media, otherwise they may face arrest.

Around 3000 refugees in northwestern Thailand are currently awaiting news on whether they will be forced back into Burma’s eastern Karen state, which they had fled in June last year following fighting between Burmese troops and an ethnic Karen group.
Rights groups have urged the Thai government to ensure that any repatriation is purely voluntary, following warnings that the area remains heavily landmined and returnees run the risk of being forcibly recruited into the Burmese army.
A senior member of the Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO), Blooming Night Zen, who met with the refugees on Saturday, said that Thai soldiers had told them that they “will face arrest and deportation if they talk to the media and other organisations about [the repatriation]”.
The return was due to begin on Friday last week, although it has been temporarily suspended after strong criticism from rights groups, as well as an outspoken letter sent by 27 US lawmakers to the Thai premier, Abhisit Vejjajiva. Continue reading “Karen refugees not to speak to media, otherwise they may face arrest”