top of page

Protesters return for the 10th day as armed military vehicles drive through Myanmar's streets

On Sunday, armored vehicles on the streets of major Myanmar towns, an internet outage and night attacks on influential opponents, did not deter demonstrators from taking to the streets to condemn the latest military coup for the tenth consecutive day on Monday.


The military appeared to intensify its crackdown on dissent over the weekend, with security forces in the northern Kachin state of the country firing on demonstrators at a power plant Sunday after a crowd had assembled there expecting that, according to social media footage and news sources, the military would shut off the electricity.


In the clash, which was broadcast live on Facebook, soldiers and police fired shots to suppress demonstrators in the state capital Myitkyina, but it is uncertain if live bullets were used. The video shows the use of water cannon by security forces and then fleeing protestors as many rounds of fire can be heard. While reporting the incident, five journalists were allegedly arrested.


A witness at the scene said that the situation was "stable" until around 11 p.m. local time when the security forces used water cannon against protesters, who had built a barricade of tires and oil drums. Protesters started throwing stones, to which the security forces responded by firing rubber bullets, he said.


"It was very loud and people got really scared. It was quite horrifying to see because people were running with fear and screaming at the same time," said the eyewitness, who didn't want to be named for fear of retaliation.


The detention of Suu Kyi, set to expire Monday, will be extended until Wednesday's court hearing, her lawyer said. Khin Maung Zaw said he was still unable to see Suu Kyi, but he addressed with the judge the question of representing her.


On Sunday, Western diplomats warned the Myanmar junta that "the world is watching" and requested that the military not use violence against demonstrators.


"We call on security forces to refrain from violence against demonstrators and civilians, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government," read a joint statement signed by the US, Canada, and the European Union that was published on the official Facebook pages of their embassies.


Hundreds of thousands of people have joined the marches and movements of civil disobedience following the takeover. People could be seen carrying "Civil Disobedience Movement" posters and "Free our leader" banners on the streets in Yangon, Dawei and Myitkyina, displaying images of imprisoned leader Suu Kyi. People have marched with posters saying: "Stop arresting people illegally at midnight."


The protests swelled to include individuals from all sections of society, including a strike as part of a mass civil disobedience movement by government workers.


While there have not yet been several cases of casualties, police have been reported on previous days using water cannon against demonstrators and have even faced claims that live rounds have been used.


A young woman named Mya Thweh Thweh Khine remains in critical condition with a gunshot wound in the head at a hospital in the capital of Naypyidaw, a source with direct victim information told CNN Friday. Video of the case circulated online showing a young woman unexpectedly collapsing to the ground during a rally while taking shelter from a water cannon. Her image has been held up at protests as a symbol for those resisting the coup.


In response to the protests, the military has sought to limit access to the internet and news services, as well as floating a potential new cyber security law that observers fear could further limit the flow of information.


Internet and mobile networks were interrupted overnight from Sunday to Monday, and Net Blocks NGO Tracking said that national network coverage had fallen to just 14 percent after 1 a.m. Hey, local time. According to residents, mobile services from all the carriers were also disrupted. Up to 9.30 a.m. Local time Monday has since been restored to some areas reported on the internet.



Fear when the sun goes down


Residents have reported a palpable fear for their safety after dark, with many frightened that police will drag them out of their homes in nighttime raids, or are frightened of arson and crime reports following the release of thousands of prisoners on Friday in an amnesty.

Reuters reported that residents in some neighborhoods have banded together to form patrols and provide some security for their streets at night.


"All the streets near me are also making groups to defend themselves from these troublemakers," Myo Thein, a resident of the South Okkalapa township, told Reuters.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, hundreds of people have been arrested since the coup, with most held without charge. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners of Burma (AAPPB) claimed that at least 400 persons were arrested in connection with the coup and other sources revealed that some activists and journalists had gone into hiding after news of their imminent capture.


One journalist in Yangon, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of arrest, said rights defenders and reporters are struggling to let the people know what is actually going on.

"Journalists are in remote working and in hiding as they are scared of night arrests and their homes going to be raided. They can be arrested anytime for what they are reporting although (it's the) truth," the reporter said.


On Saturday, according to the military details page on Facebook, the military issued arrest warrants for seven high-profile activists for using "their popularity on social media ... to undermine the peace and order of the country,"


"Journalists are in remote working and in hiding as they are scared of night arrests and their homes going to be raided. They can be arrested anytime for what they are reporting although (it's the) truth," the reporter said.


On Saturday, the military announced the arrest warrants for seven high-profile activists for using "their popularity on social media ... to undermine the peace and order of the country," according to the military's information page on Facebook.


Among those named is leading democracy activist Min Ko Naing, an organizer for the "Civil Disobedience Movement" Facebook page, which has more than 200,000 followers. Min Ko Naing spent more than 20 years in prison following the 1988 student uprising in Yangon that was brutally suppressed by the military.


In a Facebook post Sunday, Min Ko Naing called on people to continue their civil disobedience campaigns, saying the military was inciting anger to stir unrest.

"Last night, we had to face the horrifying events across the country. They are doing it with all they are capable of. They provoke our anger, and use people including police," he said. "This week is the most important week, this week will decide for us."


The military suspended three laws over the weekend aimed at preventing security forces from detaining criminals or looking for private persons.


Reuters reported that among the three suspended sections is the law that mandates a court order to detain any prisoner beyond 24 hours and limits security forces' ability to enter private property to search it or make arrests.


The suspensions also free up spying on communications, according to the Reuters report.

In addition, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing on Sunday announced several penal code amendments that appear to target protesters, journalists and critics of the coup.

3 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page