Conflicts & War

Protests continue in Myanmar despite deadly police repression

(Update 2: Updates with fresh charges against Aung San Suu Kyi)

Yangon, Myanmar, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- Hundreds in Myanmar returned to the streets Monday to express their rejection of the coup a month on, and after the deadly police crackdown the day before that left many dead.

Meanwhile a court has pressed fresh charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had not been allowed to meet anyone since Feb. 1 but finally talked to one of her lawyers through videoconferencing during her hearing in capital Naypyidaw and appeared to be in good health, a member of her defense team, Khin Maung Zaw, told EFE.

The court on Monday charged 75-year-old Suu Kyi – who has been under arrest since the day of the coup – of violating article 505 (b) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes the publication of messages that incite “fear or alarm” and other crimes against the state, apart from accusing her of violating the telecommunications law.

On Feb. 3, the Nobel Peace Laureate had been accused of illegally importing a telephone device and two weeks later charged with a crime under the natural disasters law, linked to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All these charges could result in the former state counsellor being handed long prison sentences. 

Khin Maung Zaw said that ousted president Win Myint, also under arrest since Feb. 1, has been similarly charged with violating article 505 (b). 

In a show of anger against the military junta in across Myanmar, protesters in the front line protected themselves with plastic helmets and rudimentary shields to defy authorities, who on Sunday fired live ammunition in at least seven cities against the peaceful opposition movement.

“Give us back democracy” or “Down with the military regime” are some of the proclamations protesters sang, promising to “fight to the end,” according to local media videos that broadcast the protests live.

Police Monday launched tear gas canisters in the streets of Yangon, the former capital and most populated city, where at least one protester died after being hit by the shots fired by the authorities a day earlier.

Several local media also report the deployment of military personnel on the ground in support of the police.

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