(The AEGIS Alliance) – YANGON, MYANMAR – Security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at anti-coup protesters in Myanmar on Tuesday as demonstrators across the country defied a military ban on rallies. Protests erupted for a fourth straight day in opposition to last week’s coup to oust civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as the worldwide condemnation of the putsch grew.
The rallies came regardless of a warning from the junta that it will take action against demonstrations that threatened “stability,” and a brand new ban on gatherings of greater than 5 people.
In Naypyidaw, the remote capital purpose-built by the previous military regime, witnesses stated police fired rubber bullets at protesters earlier blasting them with water cannons.
“They fired warning shots to the sky two times, then they fired [at protesters] with rubber bullets,” a resident said, and added that he noticed some people were injured.
It remained unclear how many individuals have been injured, as a hospital in Naypyidaw wouldn’t permit family members in to see their relatives, mentioned Tun Wai, who rushed there when he heard his 23-year-old son was in the operating room.
“My son was shot when he tried to use the megaphone to ask people to protest peacefully after the police used water cannon to disperse them,” the 56-year-old goldsmith said.
“He got hit in the back… I’m very worried about him.”
In Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, police fired tear gas to disperse protesters.
After watching hundreds of thousands of individuals rally in opposition to last week’s coup, junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing made a televised speech on Monday night to justify seizing power.
The first of a series of bans on gatherings in protest hotspots was additionally announced on Monday, as was a nighttime curfew.
But on Tuesday, fresh protests initially emerged in numerous parts of Yangon, including close to the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
The protesters carried placards, some of which said “We want our leader,” in reference to Suu Kyi, who’s presently detained by the military, and “No dictatorship.”
In Yangon’s San Chaung township, scores of teachers marched on the main street, waving a defiant three-finger salute that has grown to become a signature gesture of the protesters.
“We are not worried about their warning. That’s why we came out today. We cannot accept their excuse of vote fraud. We do not want any military dictatorship,” teacher Thein Win Soe stated.
Defending the coup
In his televised address, his first since the coup, Min Aung Hlaing insisted the seizure of power was justified, citing the fraud claims.
The NLD won last November’s nationwide elections by a landslide but the military by no means accepted the legitimacy of the vote. Shortly after the coup, the military announced a one-year state of emergency and promised to hold fresh elections after that.
Min Aung Hlaing on Monday insisted the military would abide by its promises and reinstall democracy. He additionally declared that issues would be completely different from the military’s previous 49-year reign, which ended in 2011. “After the tasks of the emergency period are completed, free and fair multi-party general elections will be held according to the constitution,” he mentioned. But these pledges have been accompanied by threats.
In the face of the more and more bold wave of defiance, the military warned that opposition to the junta was illegal.
In a press release read on state media, it stated “action must be taken” against activities that threaten the stability and public order.
Foreign response gains steam
On Tuesday, New Zealand became the first foreign government to take concrete public action, asserting the suspension of high-level military and political contacts with Myanmar.
The United States has led international calls for the generals to relinquish power and issued a fresh assertion on Monday following the junta’s warnings in opposition to the protesters.
“We stand with the people of Burma and support their right to assemble peacefully, including to protest peacefully in support of the democratically elected government,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price stated on Monday, using Myanmar’s former name.
Price also mentioned U.S. requests to talk to Suu Kyi have been denied.
Pope Francis on Monday called for the immediate release of imprisoned political leaders.
The UN Human Rights Council stated it will hold a relatively uncommon special session on Friday to debate the crisis.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.