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Myanmar’s 10 peace signatories back elected govt

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Regime soldiers, police and thugs beat and kick anti-regime protesters in Monywa, Sagaing Region, in February. / CJ

The 10 ethnic armed organizations’ Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) has given its unwavering support to Myanmar’s striking civil servants and the ousted government’s Federal Democracy Charter and the abolition of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

The group also urged the regime’s governing body, the State Administrative Council, to stop arbitrary killings and detentions and release all detained leaders.

By Sunday at least 557 people, including children and bystanders, have been killed by soldiers and police across Myanmar.

General Yawd Serk, head of the PPST and chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), said the grouping, “firmly stands with the people from all walks of life who are opposing the military council’s seizure of power by staging peaceful demonstrations and demanding the end of the dictatorship, the abolition of the 2008 Constitution, full democracy, the establishment of a federal union and the immediate release of all those who have been detained.”

“The regime’s council must be held accountable for more than 500 civilians killed by its forces,” Gen. Yawd Serk said during the weekend discussions via video conference.

“To solve this political crisis, we all must work in various ways,” said Gen. Yawd Serk, honoring the “fallen heroes during the spring revolution”.

The elected lawmakers’ Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament), CRPH, announced that it was nullifying the 2008 Constitution and it introduced a charter to build a federal democratic union on March 31.

By supporting the CRPH’s move, “the PPST also demanded the military regime stop atrocities against unarmed civilians during our weekend discussions. We continue to support the people who are taking part in the civil disobedience movement, defying the military regime,” said Dr. Salai Lian Hmong Sakhong, the PPST’s spokesman.

The civil disobedience movement, initiated by striking medics on Feb. 3, has been joined by civil servants from different sectors.

The spokesman said: “We all support the CRPH’s announcement abolishing the 2008 Constitution and its Federal Democracy Charter. The charter’s principles reflect the long-held demands of ethnic minorities.”

Last week, the military launched airstrikes against civilians in Karen State’s Papun District, which is under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU), a member of the PPST, displacing more than 12,000 civilians, with many seeking shelter in Thailand.

With the PPST’s support, fears have risen that further armed conflict could erupt elsewhere. Myanmar has had more than seven decades of civil war between the military and various ethnic armies.

The PPST said in February that it would not hold political negotiations with the regime while the civilian government is being detained. Its members, including the RCSS and KNU, have been hosting striking civil servants.

Dr. Salai Lian Hmong Sakhong said: “Whether fighting erupts depends on the response of the regime’s council. On our side, we don’t want war but peace. The council’s actions are mocking our peace process.”