YANGON (MYANMAR) – The efforts of Indonesia to help defuse the crisis in Myanmar with the help of other Southeast Asian nations appear to be faltering with a proposed diplomatic visit cancelled. This comes as Myanmar was set for more street agitations on Wednesday against the junta.
There were mammoth rallies this week and a general strike denouncing the military coup and seeking the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in spite of a warning issued by the authorities that confrontation could get people killed.
The protest rallies on Tuesday were relatively smaller. A rally in Yangon involving members of different ethnic minorities with the participation of civil servants from the power ministry was going on.
“We ethnic minority people haven’t had the chance to demand our rights but now we do,” said San Aung Li, 26, hailing from the Kachin minority.
“So I’m supporting the protest as all ethnic people are, with one voice.”
In the wake of the protests and a civil disobedience bringing life to a grinding halt in Myanmar, Indonesia has been trying to find a way to defuse the situation.
There were hints that it proposed a plan to have members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) send monitors to make sure that the generals keep their promise of holding fair elections.
After seizing power, the military imposed a one-year state of emergency and has not given a time frame for a new election.
Indonesia’s foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, who is in Thailand, was expected to fly to Myanmar. However, her ministry said the trip was cancelled.
“After taking into account current developments and the input of other ASEAN countries, this is not the ideal time to conduct a visit to Myanmar,” Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, said in Jakarta.
There were protests outside the Indonesian embassy on Tuesday seeking support for cancelling the bid to conduct another poll and instead recognise the November 2020 election as legitimate.
Activist group Future Nation Alliance said that a visit by the Indonesian minister would be “tantamount to recognising the military junta”.