Myanmar junta ramps up suppression despite pope’s plea

Myanmar junta suppression

The brutal suppression of resistance movements by the Myanmar junta continues unabated despite Pope Francis’ call for an end to violence and pursuing dialogue towards peace.

At least 875 people have been killed by Myanmar security forces since the February coup. Those killed have been primarily anti-coup protesters.

Opposition to the military has gone from peaceful demonstrations to an active self-defence movement with civil resistance groups emerging across the country.

Hundreds of young people from cities have gone to ethnic areas controlled by rebels to receive military training.

According to a state-run television report, a clash on June 22 between the military and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Mandalay left at least eight dead. The presenter labeled the PDF “terrorists.”

Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon urged people to be steadfast in faith and hope. He asked them to pray for a new Myanmar of peace and justice.

“Guns will never solve this country’s problems. Only a change of hearts can heal this long-suffering nation,” the prelate said.

The cardinal has also called for prayers for the army, “for every soldier who holds a gun,” so that their hearts melt. We pray they understand that “their violence is not against an enemy nation but against our own people.”

On June 20, Pope Francis renewed his call for peace in the conflict-torn country. Myanmar is mired in political turmoil and fighting that has led to thousands of people being displaced.

The pope expressed support for the Myanmar bishops’ appeal. He called the world’s attention to the “heart-rending experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and have been dying of hunger.”

“May the heart of Christ touch the hearts of everyone, bringing peace to Myanmar,” the pope said.

Archbishop Marco Tin Win of Mandalay expressed the gratitude of the people of his country for Pope Francis for his closeness and support to them since the military coup.

“When the Pontiff speaks, the people of Myanmar feel very encouraged and moved. Not only Catholics but also people of other religions. It is a very important support for all of us, in this tragedy,” said the Archbishop.


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