ANTI-COUP PROTESTS CONTINUE IN MYANMAR
Myanmar protesters opposed to last week’s military coup defied road blocks and bans on large gatherings to extend the biggest demonstrations in more than a decade on Tuesday, chanting and confronting police who fired water cannons and warned them to disperse, Reuters reported.
The Feb. 1 coup and detention of elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has brought four straight days of protests across the Southeast Asian country of 53 million and a growing civil disobedience movement affecting hospitals, schools and government offices.
Myanmar police fired water cannon at peaceful protesters in the country’s capital Naypyitaw for a second day, as the crowd refused to disperse, video posted on Facebook showed. Video in Bago, northeast of the commercial hub of Yangon also showed police firing water cannon and confronting a large crowd.
Residents said bridges connecting central Yangon to populous districts outside were shut early on Tuesday, reviving memories of almost half a century of military rule that lasted until 2015, before being opened to some traffic.
“The coup always come into our thoughts, every time we eat, work and even during resting time,” said Yangon resident Khin Min Soe.
“We are so disappointed and so sad whenever we think about why this has befallen us again.”
Promises on Monday from junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to eventually hold a new election in his first address since seizing power drew scorn.
He repeated unproven accusations of fraud in last November’s election, won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in a landslide.
“We will continue to fight,” said a statement from youth activist Maung Saungkha, calling for the release of political prisoners and the “complete collapse of dictatorship”. Activists are also seeking the abolition of a constitution that gave the army a veto in parliament and for federalism in ethnically-divided Myanmar.