London Kachin Protest Condemned Attacks in Ethnic Areas
24 June 2011: About 200 people gathered in front of the Burmese Embassy in London, protesting against the ongoing military offensive launched by Burma Army soldiers in Kachin State as well as other ethnic areas in Burma.
The rally organised by UK-based Kachin National Organisation (KNO) and Kachin National Council (KNC) had key speakers from various organisations including Burma Campaign UK, Burma Democratic Concern, National League for Democracy (Liberated Area), and other ethnic and Burmese leaders.
Duwa Hkunsa Mahkaw, General Secretary of KNC, told Chinland Guardian: “We are coming here to raise awareness of what has been going in Kachin State and protesting against the brutal attacks by the military authorities of Burma.”
When asked about the impacts of demonstration in London, Mr. Hkunsa said: “The people inside Burma do not have a chance to speak out like we have here. They will be much encouraged when they hear about what we did today. At the same time, we are informing the international community of the atrocities and human rights violations facing our people in Burma.”
Since 9 June, Burma’s authorities have launched military attacks on Kachin armed forces, killing scores of local civilians and forcing thousands to flee into the China border. As of Wednesday, about 18 women have been reported gang-raped by Burma Army soldiers deployed in Kachin State, according to Kachin Women’s Association Thailand.
During the ‘heated’ demonstration, a collection of contribution toward helping Kachin victims of ‘armed conflict’ was circulated among protesters on the street in front of the Burmese Embassy.
The protesters involving mothers and children shouted slogans such as ‘Stop military offensive in Kachin State – Right now’, and ‘What do we want – democracy’ in Burmese, Kachin and English, with some placards reading ‘Stop killing women in Kachin State’.
A session of paying tribute to those leaders who gave their lives in the struggle of democracy and freedom in Burma was also included in the two-hour long rally.
Since the instalment of Burma’s new government in March, there have been a series of military attacks launched by Burma Army soldiers in ethnic areas including Kachin, Shan, Karen and Karenni states.
The Kachin community called on Burma’s neighbouring countries, especially China, India and members of ASEAN, to put more pressure on Burma’s regime to promote changes for peace and national reconciliation in Burma.
In Malaysia, a demonstration was organised by about 200 Kachin refugees in front of the Burmese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur but later dispersed by Malaysian police.
Van Biak Thang