By – Sai Hseng Leang
Students in Lashio and Hsipaw townships in Shan State started a solidarity campaign with students in Rakhine State opposed to the war in their state. Shan State youth congregated in front of Lashio University and the entrance to Hsipaw town.
“Many died in Rakhine State”, explained Nang Bee, one of the participants from Hsipaw. “Rakhine students are protesting against it and we stand with them.” It’s not only in Rakhine State, where there are many civilian deaths because of the conflict, she told SHAN. Many are being killed in northern Shan State too and justice is never served.
The students want the deaths to stop, while highlighting how at least 16 civilians were killed in Hsipaw Township between December 2019 and August 2020.
Citizens of Rakhine State and human rights activists want the government to restore full internet services, which they say is crucial for providing information during the COVID-19 pandemic. After blocking the internet for a long time, the government reinstated it but only allowing the 2G network.
Fighting in Rakhine State is intensifying daily and civilian casualties are increasing. At the same time, the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, is spreading rapidly in Rakhine State and to other parts of the country.
James, a Lashio University student who helped organize the campaign, said “shutting down 4G internet services is a human rights abuse.” The students want 4G reinstated in Rakhine State for residents to access valuable information in real time.