Tens of thousands protest Myanmar coup after scary night, security patrols – tech2.org

Tens of thousands protest Myanmar coup after scary night, security patrols


Protesters take part in a rally against the military coup in front of the Chinese embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 12, 2021.

STR | AFP | fake images

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Myanmar’s main cities for a ninth day of anti-coup demonstrations on Sunday, after a terrifying night in which residents formed patrols and the army struck down laws protecting freedoms.

Engineering students marched through the center of Yangon, the largest city, dressed in white and carrying banners demanding the release of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in detention since the Myanmar military toppled her elected government on 1 February.

As part of the largest street protests in more than a decade, a fleet of highway buses slowly cruised through the city, honking their horns in protest.

A convoy of motorcycles and cars passed through the capital, Naypyitaw. In the southeastern coastal town of Dawei, a band played drums in shadows cast by awnings as crowds marched in the blazing sun. In Waimaw, in the extreme north of Kachin State, on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, crowds carried flags and sang revolutionary songs.

Many of the protesters across the country displayed images of Suu Kyi’s face.

His arrest, on charges of importing walkie-talkies, will expire on Monday. His lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, could not be reached for comment on what was planned to happen.

More than 384 people have been detained since the coup, the monitoring group Association for Assistance for Political Prisoners said, in a wave of mostly nightly arrests.

“As the international community condemns the coup, Min Aung Hlaing uses all the tools he has to instigate fear and instability,” activist Wai Hnin Pwint Thon of the human rights group Burma Campaign UK said on Twitter, referring to the army chief. .

‘Stop kidnapping people’

Many protesters in Yangon carried signs calling on the authorities to “stop kidnapping people at night.”

Residents came together Saturday night to patrol the streets in Yangon and the country’s second-largest city Mandalay, fearing arrest raids and common crime after the junta ordered the release of thousands of prisoners.

In different neighborhoods, groups of mostly young men banged on pots and pans to sound the alarm while chasing down what they believed to be suspicious characters.

Concerns about criminal activity have skyrocketed since Friday, when the junta announced it would release 23,000 prisoners, saying the move was consistent with “establishing a new democratic state with peace, development and discipline” and that it would “please the public.” .

Unverified images on social media have fueled rumors that criminals are trying to cause riots by setting fires or poisoning water supplies.

Tin Myint, a resident of Sanchaung Township in Yangon, was among the crowd that detained a group of four people suspected of carrying out an attack in the neighborhood.

“We believe that the army intends to cause violence with these criminals by infiltrating them in peaceful protests,” he said.

He cited pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988, when the military was widely accused of releasing criminals into the population to organize attacks, and later cited the unrest as a justification for extending its own power.

Three people in different parts of Yangon said they had seen drones hovering over the crowd. “He was flying up and down and filming the crowd chasing the thieves,” said Htet, 30, who asked to be identified by only one name.

The government and military could not be reached for comment.

Also late on Saturday, the military reinstated a law requiring people to report overnight visitors to their homes, allowed security forces to detain suspects and search private property without court approval, and ordered the arrest of known supporters of mass protests.

The coup has been denounced by Western countries, the United States has announced some sanctions on the ruling generals and other countries are also considering measures.

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