Conflicts & War

Protesters in Myanmar defy military junta to return to streets

Yangon, Myanmar, Mar 6 (EFE).- Anti-coup protesters returned to the streets in Myanmar on Saturday despite deadly repression by security forces, killing more than 50 people.

In the country’s capital, Naypyitaw, protesters held signs that read “we don’t accept military coup” with an image of a broken gun.

Some stomped on photos of the coup leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, thrown in the streets.

Security forces used tear gas against protesters in Yangon, the former capital and most populated city.

Marches were also held in Lashio in the northwestern state of Shan, local news agency Myanmar Now said.

Peaceful protesters have set a target of not allowing the military to control the country and evict it from power.

The hashtag #R2P, an acronym for “responsibility to protect,” has gone viral on social media amid no response from the United Nations Security Council.

This UN principle is a global political commitment to prevent serious human rights violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, by imposing embargoes like economic sanctions.

The use of force in the context is a prerogative of the UN Security Council, which met in New York on Friday without reaching any decision and has failed to condemn the military coup, mainly because of China and Russia’s veto power.

Christine Schraner Burgener, United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar, urged the Security Council Friday to push further to end the violence and restore democratic institutions.

The UN envoy said some 50 “innocent and peaceful” protesters have died so far, maybe by “live ammunition.”

“The use of lethal force against peaceful protesters is clearly against international human rights law,” she said.

She added that there were visual recordings of the military snipers in shooting positions aiming at unarmed protesters and indiscriminate shooting into the crowds by soldiers and police officials in various parts of Myanmar.

At least 1,522 people have been detained since the Feb. 1 coup, of which 1,215 continue to be under detention, including politicians, activists, journalists, and monks, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Among those arrested are the deposed de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and several members of her cabinet, who have mostly been incommunicado.

Protesters demand that the military, which ruled the country between 1962 and 2011, restore democracy, recognize the results of the November election and release all those detained.

The military has justified taking power on grounds of alleged electoral fraud in November’s 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 party. EFE


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