Conflicts & War

Protests against junta continue in Myanmar despite Asean agreement

Bangkok, Apr 25 (EFE).- More protests against the Myanmar military junta that overthrew a hugely popular democratically-elected government in a coup d’état in February were held in several cities across the country on Sunday.

The latest demonstrations came after an agreement was reached between leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the military junta to end violence against civilians during a summit in Jakarta on Saturday.

Although there were no mass demonstrations in Myanmar’s large cities, some smaller peaceful marches took place.

Buddhist monks gathered in Mandalay, the country’s second city, where dozens of young people also came out in support of the self-styled Government of National Unity, which is made up of deposed former civilian officials and was created as a counterweight to the military junta.

According to the Khit Thit Media portal, there were also demonstrations in a district of Yangon, the most populated city, and in smaller towns such as Namti, in the Kachin state, controlled by rebel ethnic guerrillas who have taken up arms against the military.

Following an emergency meeting on the Burmese crisis and despite initial differences in positions among members, the Asean bloc on Saturday issued a joint statement saying “there will be an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties will exercise utmost restraint.”

Human rights groups and activists have criticized the agreement for the lack of specifics on how the measures will be implemented and for not including any pledge to release more than 3,000 political prisoners who have been detained since the coup.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, welcomed the agreement but said more monitoring would be needed to ensure the military complies with its commitments.

“The result of the Asean summit will be found in Myanmar, not a document,” Andrews said in a statement on Twitter. “Will the killing stop? Will the terrorizing of neighborhoods end? Will the thousands abducted be released? Will impunity persist?”

The head of the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Malaysian MP Charles Santiago, urged the bloc to take an active role in ensuring the Myanmar military and its leader Min Aung Hlaing are held accountable.

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