Thousands rally against Myanmar junta

Published May 3, 2021
KYAUKME: Protesters taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar’s Shan state on Sunday. Cities, rural areas, remote mountainous regions and even rebel-controlled border territories have been in uproar since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1.—AFP
KYAUKME: Protesters taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar’s Shan state on Sunday. Cities, rural areas, remote mountainous regions and even rebel-controlled border territories have been in uproar since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1.—AFP

YANGON: Thousands of anti-coup protesters marched in Myanmar on Sunday, calling for a “spring revolution” with the country in its fourth month under a military regime.

Cities, rural areas, remote mountainous regions and even rebel-controlled border territories have been in uproar since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a Feb 1 coup.

The junta has aimed to suppress dissent through a brutal crackdown involving mass arrests and an escalating death toll.

Demonstrations kicked off early in commercial hub Yangon as activists called for a show of force and a “spring revolution”.

Youths gathered on a street corner before marching swiftly down the streets in a flash mob — dispersing soon after to avoid clashing with authorities.

“To bring down the military dictatorship is our cause!” they chanted, waving a three-finger salute of resistance.

In eastern Shan state, youths carried a banner that read: “We cannot be ruled at all.” Local media reported that security forces were chasing protesters down and arresting them.

“They are arresting every young person they see,” a source in Yangon said, adding that he was hiding at the time.

“Now I am trapped.” Bomb blasts also went off across different parts of Yangon on Sunday.

Explosions have been happening with increasing frequency in the former capital, and authorities have blamed them on “instigators”.

So far, security forces have killed 759 civilians, according to local monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The junta — which has labelled the AAPP an unlawful organisation — says 258 protesters have been killed, along with 17 policemen and seven soldiers.

Violence erupted again on Sunday in Shan state’s Hsipaw township, when security forces opened fire on protesters, killing at least one.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2021

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