Myanmar protesters march three months after coup

Published May 2, 2021
Protesters hold banners during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon's Insein township on Saturday. — AFP
Protesters hold banners during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon's Insein township on Saturday. — AFP

YANGON: Protesters against military rule mar­ched in Myanmar on Saturday three months after a coup ended a democratic transition, with several small blasts compounding a sense of crisis that a UN envoy warned could bring state administration to a halt.

The military has tried to end dissent and impose its authority on a people largely opposed to the return of rule by the generals after 10 years of democratic reforms that included a government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi.

Despite a relentless crackdown in which at least 759 protesters have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, crowds come out day after day to reject the junta.

“Our cause, democracy, our cause, a federal union. Free arrested leaders,” protesters chanted at one of two rallies in the main city of Yangon.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup the along with many other members of her party. The AAPP says more than 3,400 people have been detained for opposing the military.

People also rallied in the second city of Mandalay and the southern town of Dawei, media reported. There were no immediate reports of violence.

Media reported several small blasts in different places including Yangon late on Friday and on Saturday. There were no immediate reports of casualties and no claims of responsibility.

A spokesman for the junta did not answer calls seeking comment. The military has accused pro-democracy activists of planting bombs.

The UN special envoy on Myanmar told the Security Council on Friday that in the absence of a collective international response to the coup, violence was worsening and the running of the state risked coming to a standstill, according to diplomats who attended the private meeting.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2021

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