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CNN 10

Violence in Myanmar; Interviews of Members of the Public and a Member of the Myanmar Military. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 07, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN10 ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN 10. My name is Carl Azuz reporting form a remote studio location this week but it is not a green screen as

someone on Twitter asked yesterday.

First up in today's international coverage takes us to the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar. It's also know as Burma. It was taken over by its

military in a coup on February 1.

And since then there have been violent confrontations between the military and the civilians who have been protesting the takeover. An advocacy group

based in neighboring Thailand says more than 550 people have died in Myanmar's violence and that thousands of others have been detained by the


It blames the demonstrators for causing violence and anarchy in Myanmar. But witnesses say troops have used tear gas, rubber bullets, and deadly

force against the protestors and it's blocked all wireless internet services operating in Myanmar, which observers say is an attempt to control

the information that gets out.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says Burma's military has been heavily involved in the nation's politics since it was founded. It took over in a

coup in 1962 and ran the country for five decades afterward.

Last November, Myanmar's civilian government won a significant victory in national elections but the military did not accept the results. It said the

vote was fraudulent. And since it's coup in February, it's arrested and excused civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of committing several crimes,

which her lawyer say are made up.

The military did give CNN permission to enter the country. It's the first international media organization allowed to work there. Troops have been

escorting the CNN journalists, monitoring their movements and those who speak to them.

Clarissa Ward interviewed members of the public and a member of the military.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On way day we were finally allowed to go to a public space to an open market and it's important to underscore here

that we have no solicited contact with any activist, with anyone who is part of the protest movement because we know given the context that we're

hearing, just how dangerous that could be.

However, when we took our cameras out in this market and started shooting video, people started coming up to us. People started giving the three

fingered Hunger Game salute that has become the emblem, the symbol of this defiant movement.

And they came up and started telling us their stories. They told us they were frightened, they told us there is no peace there. And we let them say

their peace. We felt it was important to give them the opportunity to have their side of the story on the record.

Shortly afterwards, however, we found out that many of them detained. One woman actually ran after me while we were still at the market, trembling

like a leaf on the phone with someone who said that three people we'd spoken to had already been arrested.

We had the opportunity, however, to sit down with Myanmar senior military - - senior military leadership, the government spokesman himself and we asked him why on earth these people have been arrested and we urged him to

release them. Take a listen.

We went to a market in Yangon and a lot of people approached us because they wanted to talk to us, they wanted to tell their side of the story. We

subsequently found out that at least five of them were arrested.

We have verified this independently. We have seen photographic evidence, in some cases, to confirm this. Can you please explain why you would be

arresting people for talking to us? What possible crime did these people commit?

MAJOR ZAW MIN TUN, BURMESE ARMY GENERAL (through translator): They haven't committed any crime. We saw it on the news yesterday and I asked how many

were arrested, 11 got arrested. The security forces were worried that they would provoke others and start the protest in the market.

And that is why they got arrested. However, the government is arranging to release them as soon as possible.

WARD: We are now very relieved to be able to confirm that at least eight of those 11 people and all eight that CNN knew about have now been


UNKNOWN: Why does the military want you there or why have they agreed to allow CNN to be there if they're just going to arrest everybody that you

talk to?

WARD: The military wants to get its side of the story on the record too. And that's important. And we gave them the opportunity to do that. They see

the protest movement as being violent, a being dangerous, as being disruptive to the economy.

They say that if people allow the process to play out that there will be elections again within the next two years. They paraded a series of victims

before us who told us stories about being threatened by the protestors, by -- humiliated by the protestors, they took us to buildings that they said

had been vandalized by the protestors.


AZUZ: Ten second trivia. What was the largest naval battle of World War II? Battle in the Philippine Sea, Battle of the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway

or Battle of Layte Gulf?

Fought in late October of 1944, the Battle of Layte Gulf is widely considered the biggest naval battle in history.

It was a decisive victory for the United States and a major defeat for Japan. The Asian country lost dozens of ships, hundreds of planes and

hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops were killed or injured.

America lost seven war ships along with more than 23,000 soldiers and sailors, according to the Defense Department. Not only is the Battle of

Layte Gulf among the largest Naval battles in history, the maritime clash in 1944 marked the last time battleships fought against each other.

Some of these wrecks are still being discovered today near the Philippines and miles beneath the waves of the Pacific.


UNKNOWN: This is the world's deepest known shipwreck, located more than four miles or some 6,500 meters below the surface of the Pacific. The

numbers 557 identify it as the USS Johnston. Filmed for the first time underwater my remote controlled submersible.

This destroyer was one of several U.S. Navy ships sunk battling a vastly superior Japanese fleet during a furious battle off the coast of the

Philippines during World War II.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These little ships fighting a desperate battle of the time (ph). Used everything in the book to stay


WATSON: How did you feel seeing the I.D. numbers of the USS Johnston?

UNKNOWN: In a way it's painful but in another way it's inspirational.

WATSON (voice-over): Former U.S. Navy Captain Carl Schuster says he and his fellow officers studied the story of the Johnston and its commander,

Ernest Evans, the first Native American naval officer to be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

UNKNOWN: He moved without orders. He saw an imminent danger to the fleet and he moved on it on his own authority.

WATSON (voice-over): Evans bought time for vulnerable American transport ships by attacking a fleet of 23 Japanese warships.

UNKNOWN: His actions started in charge, if you will, that ultimately saved several thousand American lives at the cost of his own and much of his


WATSON (voice-over): One hundred-eighty-six crew members, including Commander Evans died aboard the Johnston. The Johnston was mapped by

Caladan Oceanic.

Over the past decade several other World War II wrecks have been discovered in the Pacific by expeditions led by the late Microsoft co-founder, Paul

Allen. Navies around the world treat these sites as sacred war graves.

UNKNOWN: I see them as the tombs or cemeteries of brave men who died fighting for their country. Whether they're German, Japanese, or American -


WATSON (voice-over): The mapping of the USS Johnston brings some closure for surviving relatives of the ship's crew.

UNKNOWN: A grateful people will remember their names. The Gambier Bay, the USS Paul, the Johnston, the Samuel B. Roberts.

WATSON (voice-over): But the final resting places of the three other ships sunk during the same deadly battle have yet to be found. Ivan Watson, CNN,

Hong Kong.


AZUZ: The United States and Japan have become close allies since World War II, and decades before the war, the friendship between the Japanese and the

American people was demonstrated in mutual gifts of trees.

In 1912, Japan sent more than 3,000 cherry trees across the Pacific. In return, America shipped dogwood trees to Japan three years later. The

Japanese gift bloomed into an annual highlight on Washington D. C. title basin.

Every year in late March and early April, visitors walk through a spring time wonderland of white and pink flowers. Well trees the season. And you

don't need to pedi sell us on such a (inaudible) unreal beauty. It would give any city bragging rights to be able to branch out and show off the

roots that tip the bud scales to such a cherry atmosphere.

I'm Carl Azuz. And Cicero, Illinois is our last stop today. Want to give a shout out to Morton East High School. Thanks to everyone for watching CNN.