Myanmar protesters defy military and call for greater dissent

Protesters in Myanmar on Monday held protests against the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, calling for a more coordinated nationwide dissent that opposed efforts by the military to quell attempts to rally opposition to his two-month rule.

Activists said six people were killed over the weekend when police and soldiers used violence to end what some protesters call the “Spring Revolution”.

The campaign against the overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi included street marches, a campaign over civil disobedience with strikes and bizarre social media riots that the junta sought to control by shutting down wireless broadband and mobile data services.

Protesters with posters of Suu Kyi and signs asking for international intervention marched through the streets of the second largest city, Mandalay, according to pictures on social media.

Protesters later on Monday called for coordinated applause across the country to recognize armies of ethnic minorities who have joined the anti-coup movement, as well as youth demonstrators who fought security forces on the streets every day trying to shield or rescue wounded demonstrators.

“Let’s clap for five minutes on April 5th at 5 p.m. to honor ethnic armed organizations and Gen Z defense youth from Myanmar, including Yangon, who are fighting for us in the revolutionary struggle,” said Ei Thinzar Maung, a protest leader. on Facebook .

Opponents of military rule wrote protest messages on Easter eggs on Sunday, including “We have to win” and “MAH out” – referring to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.

At least 557 people have been killed since he led a coup d’état to prevent Suu Kyi’s party from running for a second term on February 1, just hours before a new parliament was convened.

This was followed by months of military complaints about fraud in an election in which Suu Kyi’s party won 83 percent of the vote and a party founded by Min Aung Hlaing’s predecessor was put under pressure.

The coup and the crackdown on demonstrations sparked an international outcry and triggered Western sanctions against the military and its lucrative businesses.

Protesters hold flags during an anti-military coup rally in the Launglone community in Dawei district of Myanmar on Monday.HANDOUT / AFP – Getty Images

In a speech to soldiers published in state media on Sunday, Min Aung Hlaing said the security forces are “exercising extreme restraint” against armed rioters who cause violence and anarchy.

External pressure on the military to stop the killings is growing. Some countries are demanding that it cede power and free all detainees, others are calling for dialogue and new elections soon.

Around 2,658 were arrested under the junta, the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Monday.

The junta announced arrest warrants against more than 60 celebrities, social media influencers, models and musicians over the weekend.

The military, which ruled with iron for half a century until 2011, has seen hostilities with armed ethnic minorities on at least two fronts, fueling fears of growing conflict and chaos in the country.

The Karen National Union, which signed a ceasefire in 2012, has recorded the first military air strikes on its armed forces in more than 20 years, sending thousands of refugees to Thailand. There was also fighting between the army and ethnic Kachin insurgents in the north.

Fitch Solutions said Monday the situation in Myanmar was “past the point of uncertainty” and a conservative forecast for its economy would mean a 20 percent decline in the fiscal year that began in October, instead of the 2 percent before the coup.

The use of air strikes “marks a new limit to the extent to which the military is willing to mobilize its arsenal to quell any disagreements.”

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