Conflicts & War

Injuries and arrests as Myanmar police crack down on protesters

Yangon, Feb 28 (efe-epa).- Myanmar security forces cracked down on anti-coup protesters across Yangon on Sunday, with witnesses and local media reporting several demonstrators wounded and dozens arrested.

Police launched tear gas and stun grenades against thousands of residents peacefully protesting the Feb. 1 military takeover in various parts of the country’s most populated city, an EFE correspondent on the ground reported.

At least eight people were wounded and 50 arrested in the morning, according to local media outlet The Irrawaddy.

Photos and video posted to social media by residents and local press showed several wounded and bloody protesters. Shots could be heard, with reports of live ammunition being used by security forces.

Demonstrators erected makeshift barricades to block police from entering residential streets.

Injuries and at least one death were also reported by local media in the southeastern city of Dawei.

The crackdowns by the authorities against the civil disobedience movement that has been protesting for weeks against the military junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing have become increasingly violent in recent days, even though Hlaing has said authorities have been using minimal force.

However, they have not stopped the protest movement continuing throughout the country.

Demonstrators, joined by a large number of civil servants paralyzing parts of the administration, demand that the army return power to the people and recognize the results of the November 2007 election.

According to the latest report by the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least eight people have died as a result of violence following the coup, while at least another 854 have been arrested, and 83 of them have been released.

Among those still detained is the deposed elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of whom no news has emerged for days.

Meanwhile, public television announced Saturday night the dismissal of Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the overthrown elected government, after calling on Friday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly for the “strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup.”

According to state media, Tun was fired for “high treason” committed during his speech, which ended with him raising three fingers, a symbol of resistance used by protesters.

However, the military junta has not been recognized as a legitimate government by the UN.

The UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, praised the ambassador’s “remarkable act of courage” and called in a message on Twitter for other countries act against the military.

The army has justified the coup on grounds of alleged electoral fraud in the November elections, in which international observers did not detect any wrongdoing and which resulted in a landslide victory for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. EFE-EPA


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