What’s happening at the protests in Myanmar?

Published on February 8, 2021 by

People across Myanmar joined a third day of demonstrations Monday, to protest the coup that removed elected de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets of Myanmar over the weekend, in the biggest protests since the military putsch that removed Suu Kyi a week ago. The country found itself returned to military rule after a 10-year flirtation with democracy. During a demonstration in the capital, Naypyidaw, authorities used water cannon against anti-coup protesters. Protesters in the country’s largest city, Yangon, held up Wanted posters featuring the image of Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The AFP news agency reported that there were suspicions that the water had been laced with chemicals. According to the Reuters news agency, police appeared to stop using the water cannon after protesters made and appeal to them. However, it said, the demonstration continued.

Calls to join protests have grown louder and more organized since the coup last Monday, with the military shutting down social media channels being used by its opponents. The “Civil Disobedience Movement” has gathered pace online, with the public urged to show their anger at the coup each night by banging pots and cymbals. Police have arrested individuals involved in such protests. With the military junta periodically shutting down the Internet protesters have had to turn to phone calls and text messages to organize the demonstrations.

State broadcaster MRTV issued a warning on a potential crackdown on protesters, saying that opposition to the military takeover was unlawful. “Action must be taken according to the law with effective steps against offences which disturb, prevent and destroy the state’s stability, public safety and the rule of law,” said a statement read by an announcer on the channel. The military justified the coup with a claim of fraud in last November’s elections, which Suu Kyi’s NLD won in a landslide. The junta has proclaimed a state of emergency lasting a year and promised to then hold fresh elections — with no precise offer of a timeframe. While the coup has triggered widespread international condemnation, China — a regional and economic ally — has declined to criticize the generals that presided over it. Myanmar, a former British colony then known as Burma, was under military rule for five decades following a 1962 coup. While Suu Kyi’s five years as the nation’s effective leader have represented a brief period of relative democracy, the country’s authorities have continued to apply repressive colonial-era laws and engage in ethnic conflict.

Category Tag
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments