Conflicts & War

Myanmar police crack down on anti-junta protesters

Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 27 (efe-epa).- Myanmar police on Saturday chased and fired tear gas at peaceful demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Yangon in rejection of the military junta that seized power in a coup on Feb. 1.

An unknown number of protesters were arrested, as was at least one photographer, according to a video posted on social media by a protester.

Local news outlet Myanmar Now said one of its reporters had also been arrested covering the protests.

The crackdown on the continuing civil disobedience movement against the military junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing follows an increase in tension and police violence in recent days, including the use of live ammunition by uniformed personnel.

Early Saturday, security forces blocked streets in the former capital in an attempt to stop the protests, an EFE correspondent witnessed.

Protesters created improvised barricades to fend off the charging police.

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

The results were annulled on Friday by the election commission that was recently appointed by the military government.

According to 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 771 have arrested, and 82 of them have been released.

The deposed leader of the government, Aung San Suu Kyi, remains under arrest.

During a United Nations General Assembly meeting on Friday to discuss the crisis in Myanmar, the country’s ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by the overthrown government, urged the international community to take decisive action against the coup and stop violence by armed personnel.

“We need… the strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people, and to restore the democracy,” Kyaw Moe Tun told the UN General Assembly, finishing with a three-finger salute, an anti-coup symbol of resistance used by protesters.

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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