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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 4, 2021 4:30am-5:00am GMT

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the prosecutor of the international criminal court says she's opening a formal investigation into war crimes in the palestinian territories, which will examine both sides of the conflict. the palestinian authority has called the move a long awaited step towards justice. the israeli prime minister described it as the essence of anti—semitism and hypocrisy. brazil has registered a record of covid—19 deaths for a second day with 1,910 lives lost. the surge in cases, driven by new variants, has pushed health systems to their limits. presidentjair bolsonaro has been criticised for downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic and for the slow pace of vaccination. police in washington say they have intelligence showing a possible plot by a militia to breach the capitol building, again, on thursday. extra security measures are being put in place and the house of representatives will not meet. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk.
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welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. it's a month since the military in myanmar seized power and detained the country's elected leaders. if the generals thought the public would quietly accept the return of military rule, well, they were wrong. mass protests across the country have been met with increasing force and the death toll is rising. my guest is khin zaw win, a prominent political prisoner under the previous military regime. what do the people of myanmar want now? and what are they likely to get?
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khin zaw win, in yangon, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. let me ask, by getting you to describe to me the situation as you see it and feel it today in yangon, is the momentum still with the street protests? or are people reconsidering whether they should and will take to the streets? well, the momentum is very much still with the people, you know? it hasn't abated. traffic still goes on, but if you go to the streets, there are intersections where it's like in the medieval warfare, the protesters on one side and the police
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and the troops on the other are carrying shields and wearing helmets. so they are facing off. they have been shooting, not so much fires or anything, but a lot of barricades put up at nights and the police remove it in the morning. but, every day, people are coming out in columns to protest and there have been live rounds fired into the crowds and people have died. a pregnant schoolteacher died. yes, we have seen... we have seen on social media some of the disturbing pictures. and the un human rights office reported, just a couple of days ago, that 18 people had died across the country. as you say, the security forces appear to have fired with live rounds. i'm just wondering how much fear there now is amongst protesters. what do you think? well, it's a combination, like i said, like in, um, combat, or during,
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um, war, you know? there is fear, but they are still coming out to confront the security troops, you know, so it's not that they are being fearful and running away. well, of course, if there's shooting, people run away, but they come again and again. i was surprised by the courage of these common people. i go out and watch them almost every day, you know? so that means that there could be more fatalities, but the momentum still goes on. and i don't think people are just going to go awayjust because there are troops with guns and water cannon and all that. well, you say the protesters are not going to go away,
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but there is a real question as to whether the military will use increasing levels of force. you know the mind—set of the military, because you have spent more than a decade inside prison as a result of your activities during the last military regime. you weren't released until, i believe, 2005. so, you know, you know the mind—set. 11 years, yes. so... well... tell me. they wouldn't hesitate to shoot, you know? what happened in 1988 and 2007 was that they used automatic weapons and live ammunition and so the results, let's say, let's call it the results, came fast, people died in this cause, you know, and there was all this blood on the streets and things became quiet. but, this time, they're not using that tactic. and i would say the protesters are braver and more determined this time. but, as you say, there is the possibility they will
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use overwhelming force, like machine guns, assault rifles and just shoot indiscriminately. so, if people die in this cause again this time, we would have an abrupt ending. it's sad, but that's the reality and, as you say, the mind—set. they would not hesitate to do that if they feel threatened. and that's why international pressure is so important at this time. we'll get to international pressure in a moment, butjust continuing with the tactics of the demonstrators, who are so infuriated by this military coup, they are also talking of extended strikes. different professions have already called strikes. there's talk of a long—term national strike. could that, in your view, be an effective tactic? at the moment, it is, you know? they call it the civil disobedience movements and lots of government employees are not going to work. it's more pronounced, like, in the hospitals.
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all the hospitals are closed. i mean, i come from a health background myself, and i don't like it, professionally, but people say that we have to do it if it is...uh, if this revolution is going to succeed. and so we have hospitals closed down and people even standing in front of hospitals to prevent it being open. so these civil disobedience movements are going... it reminds you of what happened in india over half a century ago, where government came to a standstill, you know? and, of course, the movement, the protestors, are hoping that will happen, but perhaps it might not. and the generals think differently, but that is the purpose of the strikes. another... and it's... another element of this that we sawjust a few days ago was the rather dramatic statement from myanmar�*s representative at the united nations, where he condemned the coup, called for it to be reversed, and called for the international community to offer help to the people of myanmar.
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it raises another question. just how nervous do you think the military leadership is about internal dissent within the government? i noticed they've withdrawn quite a number of diplomats from around the world and called them home. is there a concern that there are people inside the government who are not supportive of the coup? yes, they are clearly concerned about that. a week ago, the employees of the central bank went on strike, you know? and they couldn't be so i don't know if, at the end of last month, employees are getting their salaries. well, some people said, oh, we will pay them for you in the meantime. but this recall of the diplomats, over100, from missions all over the country, this is the first time it has happened.
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and this is the first time that a full ambassador, a diplomat of ambassadorial rank, has really defected and spoken out publicly against the government. and so it really concerns them. and we could be looking at a war of nerves. who is going to breakfirst? and i think, like you said, other elements will have to come in. let us get to the politics of the opposition now. i say opposition, but, of course, they're people who actually are expressing support for the ousted government and for the symbolic leader of that government, although she didn't hold the presidency, and that is aung san suu kyi. you are a prominent voice in myanmar politics, not least because of your long experience as a political prisoner, but you are no supporter of aung san suu kyi. i want you to explain to me why you do not believe that aung san suu kyi should be the symbol of this pro—democracy movement
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we now see on the streets. well, for the plain reason that it hasn't worked. she has been the de facto leader of the government for a full term, and that's five years, and she hasn't got much to show for it. i was hoping for a coalition government after the last election, but she won by a landslide, you know, and i think the aura of the icon has pretty well worn off, you know, and i think it's time to pass the mantle to younger leaders and not hog the show so much. now she's under great pressure. so everyone, even myself, yesterday, i gave an interview
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and i didn't like all these trumped—up charges that were applied against her. it's so ludicrous. but, yes, for all fairness, for all decency, she has to be released, you know, but... but if i may say so, your position seems to run counter to the mood on the streets, because i and many others around the world have been looking at the pictures coming from yangon and many other cities and towns across myanmar. and we see that so many of them are carrying banners and posters with the face of aung san suu kyi. she is described in some of them as "our only hope and belief". so, frankly, your distaste for her is not shared by the majority of people who are taking to the streets. no. we have come to the central point of what you call the opposition. the opposition is, let's say... ..divided. let me use that word, you know? the ethnic nationalities are not behind her and
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the ethnic nationalities, someone phoned mejust yesterday saying that we do not want to follow the committee representing the people's junta, the parliaments. and so this is a dangerous movement for the opposition, because i think the main point is that are you...are we going to stick with the 2008 constitution or are we going to draw and draft a new one? a lot of people don't want the 2008 constitution and the military and the nld and aung san suu kyi, for that matter, are still in the first camp. not many people know that. and so because of her stand, she is, in a way, dividing the opposition. well, but the problem you have is that in november of last year, aung san suu kyi and the national league for democracy won a thumping election victory. i think they commanded 80% of the vote. so, you know, while people in the outside world, i think, many are feeling deep sympathy
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for those on the streets, they're also basically seeing that this is about restoring aung san suu kyi and her party to power, as they were ousted by a military coup. it's hard for people to understand you saying, "no, we don't want the military, "but we don't want the elected government either." that's what a lot of people are saying, and this is a nuance that people abroad don't know. it's good that you're bringing this up, the... all right, you go to the streets and the opposition, the protesters are united and they're carrying these banners. we would all like to see her released and all the detainees released. but we don't want to go back to the previous situation, to the previous normal, you know, and that's what we can... ..we run into problems very soon because the objectives are different.
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it's not just me. what i said was just my personal opinion. a lot of people, the ethnics, the non nld, erm... ..political parties are not going with the crph. mm. and when it comes out, please don't be surprised. i sympathise with the crph and four or five ministers were appointed, but no defence minister, no home minister. people are saying, why don't we appoint the leaders of the ethnic armies as ministers? well, it will be one mess. i'm looking at the realities. of course, i sympathise with her. i suffered more than a decade in prison and now aung san suu kyi is being... ..all these trumped—up charges rammed onto her. and i don't want that kind of thing to happen. i have no love for the regime. but let me tell you, she is not without blame for having brought this mess on myanmar. well, i think... sure we have sympathy.
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yes, ithink, if i may, what i'm hearing from you with your reservations about aung san suu kyi as well as your disquiet about the military coup, what i'm hearing from you is that you think myanmar needs notjust the return to democratic government as it was, but it needs a wholesale political revolution, a new constitution. yes, exactly. but right now, i can't imagine anything more unlikely than the military agreeing to a completely new constitution with greater political autonomy, greater rights for ethnic minorities, which appears to be one of your key messages — that seems impossible to imagine at the current moment. well, is it time, you know? and we have to think of two things. the first thing is to defuse the present discontent in the streets. and number two, long term, we have to think about a new constitution and new elections.
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now, people are not going to agree with that either, because the nld won handsomely in november and they don't want to give that up. and what i'm saying is, it's notjust the military regime. very soon we are going to run smack against each other and the opposition will start squabbling amongst themselves. i'm just giving a foreboding and a premonition of what should happen, you know. it's not whether i like aung san suu kyi or not. tell you the truth, i don't, you know. but we are still saddled with the whole situation. and it's not so easy to unravel as what the international community thinks and what the protesters who are shouting slogans on the streets think. yeah, there are plenty of posters of win myint for president and aung san suu kyi, of course. and there are plenty of posters of the senior general min aung hlaing, who are on the street and people tread on it, you know. i mean, in an asian buddhist country, that is almost, you know, a sacrilege, you know.
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mm. let us... it's... if i may, let's talk about the international community and what it can do in the current situation. we've had condemnation from the united states and from the uk and from several other western governments. we've had targeted sanctions imposed on members of the military ruling council, individuals named and sanctioned. yeah, yeah. but what we... we need that. yeah, but what we do not have is a united international position. china, for example, refused to sign on to a security council resolution, which would have condemned the coup and therefore they blocked it. do you believe the international community can and must do more to send a clear signal to the generals that their military government will not be accepted? yes, exactly. we need that. because we have to work in tandem, the domestic movement,
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as well as international support. we really didn't have that in the past, you know, and lots of things went wrong in the past. this time, we're not looking at international military intervention, but we need full support that the message must be given and not only words, but also action to back it up, that the message being that this kind of behaviour, this kind of act, is totally unacceptable, you know. what they could do, if the military had any sense, is to, well, start talks again with aung san suu kyi, you know, and they had a meeting with aung san today, i don't know what happened, i haven't read it. even if on show, they'll have to bring aung san suu kyi out and defuse the situation, number one, you know. but instead of that, they are slapping more and more charges against her and that
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enrages the people even more. but isn't the truth that the military feel that, frankly, they can get away with this because the countries that really matter to them, in terms of economic links and also regional ties, are obviously china, with whom they have a very important relationship, but then the member states of asean, with whom they have important trading and neighbourly relations. and if one looks at the asean reaction, we see the indonesians trying to mediate. we see the thai government actually welcoming a member of the military government to talks in thailand. it is quite plain that inside the region there is no appetite for trying to topple the military government. no, that's right. there's no question about trying to topple it, you know, although the protesters want that, most of all. since you asked the question, there's no question of toppling it and they are divided, too.
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so let mejump the gun and say that the best thing that we can hope for, after all this, after the dust settles, if it does, is just a stalemate, you know, and it'll go on. it's going to be very messy. people dream about getting a very neat and clear—cut solution to this crisis. it's not going to happen that way. and i can only hope that, in the meantime, more people don't get shot and killed, that's all. it's going to be messy and it's going to take a long time. let me return to the central figure of aung san suu kyi. she's so well known around the world. but we also, in recent years, have seen her side with the military when it comes to the military�*s campaign against the rohingya minority muslim communities inside your country. we saw hundreds of thousands of rohingyas forced out of myanmar, and we then saw aung san suu kyi in december
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2019 going to the hague, defending the military actions and denying that any crimes against humanity had ever been committed. do you believe that what happened then has damaged aung san suu kyi in her current predicament? yes, two things about that. number one, yes, it has damaged her irreparably, not only in the international community and the international scene, but among the liberals within the country. and number two, look what the military she has defended is repaying her, in what fashion is it doing it. it was a very serious miscalculation. no, she damaged her opposition and the people she was trying to defend really kicked her in the chest, if i may say so, you know. she is not an astute politician. you have to face it now and, well... or maybe... maybe, if i may say so, you are not the astute politician.
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i mean, you were in prison for many years, but these days you're a political commentator. what she managed to achieve was transferring from her prison cell to actually running the country. she understands that in myanmar, the majority, if i may say so, the buddhist majority, the burman community, do appear to support these actions against minorities. and aung san suu kyi, to that extent, proved herself to be a successful nationalist politician. no, i disagree with that. number one, i do not pretend to be a politician. i don't want... i've never been a member of a political party and i feel very comfortable that way. number two, aung san suu kyi made a series of blunders. you think she had led this country to success, you know? i think half of the problems that we are facing now in myanmar are because of her.
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well, she may be a successful politician in people's eyes, but look at the reality. do you think the military is going to show her any mercy? we feel sorry for her, but it's something that she brought upon herself. you've got to realise that. what do you think is going to happen next? in the course of this conversation, you've told me that the military mind—set is not to give up or be swayed by protests. they will dig in. you've also told me that you don't believe aung san suu kyi represents the long—term democratic future for your country. yes. so what happens next? it looks like a stalemate and it looks like that, frankly, the people who go onto the streets and protest have very little way of delivering change right now. but that's our predicament, and aung san suu kyi both with the generals, as leaders, both suu kyi and the generals, should have realised that, you know. why don't you go and ask them?
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you know, they can't get it into the heads that this is the wrong way to face that country's realities and save it from itself, you know. i don't want to do that, but she did it, and she really put her foot in it. so what can we do? this is burma's predicament ever since independence, you know, and... i mean, the military, we must end in a moment, but the military say that there will be a state of emergency for at least a year, and then there's a vague promise of elections after that state of emergency. do you... yeah, that's in the constitution. and that's what they are planning on. they say that they're meticulously following the constitution and this is not unconstitutional. they will go with that, and that is why they are standing on the 2008 constitution. i think there'll be a period of major turmoil. we don't know what we'll see at the end. but let me repeat, you know,
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aung san suu kyi and the nld are not part of the solution any more. i repeat that. we must end there. but, khin saw win, i thank you very much forjoining me from yangon. hello there. wednesday was a cloudy day and over the next few days, sunshine is going to be at a premium. now, we've still got colder air sitting across the uk. for most of the time, it is going to be dry but there will be a lot of cloud, and the cloud was thick enough on wednesday to give quite a few showers for england and wales, some heavy bursts of rain for a time as well. now at the moment, those showers are becoming confined
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more to the south east of england and east anglia on that weather front there. at the same time we have another weak weather front moving down into scotland. now, behind that we're going to pick up more of a north—easterly breeze. that will push its way down across the uk and just continue to feed in that chilly airfrom the north. now, there's a lot of cloud around at the moment. misty weather, too. not as much fog, mind you. and temperatures by the morning should be just a few degrees the right side of freezing. but there's some showers to clear away from the south east and east anglia in the morning. we've got on that weather front in the north some light rain or drizzle. and in scotland, perhaps even a bit of snow over the highest ground. that damp weather moves down into northern england in the afternoon allowing something a bit brighter in scotland, some sunshine in the west. for many parts of the uk, it's going to be cloudy again, particularly dull towards the south west. temperature�*s not quite as high here on thursday. and generally, those temperatures will be around 6—7 degrees. as we head into the evening, a little bit of drizzle for a while for northern ireland moving into wales, the midlands, down
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towards the south east. as that moves through, so the cloud will tend to break up a little bit more overnight. we've got high pressure moving down — this time, coming down from iceland bringing with it that colder air but bringing with it a lot of dry weather and the winds will be lighter on friday, as well. could start a bit chilly, though, with some clearer skies overnight. so, a risk of frost in the morning and whilst there could be some sunshine at times on friday, we'll tend to find the cloud tending to build and spread out a bit more through the day. that's not going to help the temperatures, of course. and again, those temperatures will be around 6—8 celsius. now, let's head into the weekend and for many, it's more of this quiet, dry, fairly cloudy sort of weather. we may find temperatures sneaking up a degree or so as the weekend goes on. and by sunday, there's more of a west to south—westerly wind picking up. over the weekend, there's still the chance of seeing some rain across northern ireland and western scotland, particularly on sunday as weather fronts start to come in from the atlantic, and that's a sign of something more unsettled but not quite as cold as we head into next week.
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this is bbc news. i'm sally bundock with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. police in washington say they have intelligence of a possible plot by a militia group to breach the capitol building on thursday. the international criminal court is opening a formal investigation into war crimes in the palestinian territories. brazil registers a record covid death toll for the second day running, and it's expected to get worse in the coming weeks. and two rare pieces of armour, lost for a0 years, on display again in the louvre.


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