Karen National Day: KNU Claims “It’s Time to End the Dictatorship” … Civil Society Groups Appeal for Unity Among Ethnic Armed Groups

A Karen National Union leader said the time has come for ethnic armed groups to unite and end the military dictatorship now destroying the country.

General Mutu Sae Po, chairperson of the Karen National Union in a letter to commemorate the 73rd Karen National Day said that it’s now time to use a united force to end the military dictatorship.

General Mutu Sae Po letter released today, on February 11, said the recent military coup d’etat had derailed the country transition towards democracy and it has caused a huge obstacle for the development of the country.

“The military coup is an opposite of what we, the Karen National Union, as well as other ethnic nationalities, expect to reach our goal in building a democratic federal union.”

General Mutu Sae Po’s letter said. “Under the rule of a chauvinistic government and a military dictatorship for many ethnic nationalities is a complete derailing of the democratic transition and is a barrier to the development of the country.”

General Mutu Sae Po urged all Karen people, wherever they are and whatever roles they have to work together with other ethnic nationalities in order to be free from oppression and to develop as a national citizen.

Early this week, the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN) called on all the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) not to hold peace talks and to show opposition against the dictatorship and to not recognize the junta.

KPSN urged EAOs to stand together with ethnic people and civil society organizations in condemning the February 1st coup and to acknowledge the current peace process has ended.

“Peace will not be possible with the military dictatorship who forcibly seized power and they will continue to fight ethnic citizens no matter what kind of promises they signed. Peace talks must be stopped immediately.”

The KPSN called for ethnic armed groups to form an immediate alliance to confront the dictatorship and to support and provide security for activists and journalists in their respective regions who are facing threats of arrest and imprisonment.

EAOs are also urged to demand international donors aiding the Burma peace process to stop funding it and instead work with Non-Government Organizations to provide aid for displaced communities.

The Karen National Union (KNU) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA), signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, have officially stated their opposition to the military’s coup.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), a member of the Northern Alliance, used its social media pages to say it supported the non-violent Civil Disobedience Movement opposing the coup.

Karen National Day events are being held in different locations in the country, including Rangoon, where thousands of people demonstrated at Myay Ni Gone against military coup now in its the sixth day of protest.

In Thandaung Gyi Township, Karen State, a group of Karen villagers marching to join Karen a National Day event were blocked by the Burma Army in an attempt to stop them joining the city protests. Local Karen authorities negotiated with the Burma Army for several hours before the villagers were allowed to pass.

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