Protesters began to gather across Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, on Tuesday, defying military warnings that threatened “action” against large gatherings.
In San Chaung township – where gatherings are currently banned – many teachers marched on the main road, waving a defiant three-finger salute.
Opponents of the Myanmar military coup have vowed to continue nonviolent acts against bans at large gatherings, curfews and the roads following the largest demonstrations in more than a decade.
The February 1 coup and the detention of the elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi led to three days of protests over the Southeast Asian country of 53 million and a growing civil disobedience movement that affected hospitals, schools and authorities.
Promises on Monday from Junata’s leader Min Aung Hlaing to eventually hold a new election in his first speech since taking power. He repeated unproven allegations of fraud in last November’s election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide.
“We will continue to fight,” said a statement from youth activist Maung Saungkha, calling for the release of political prisoners and the “complete collapse of the dictatorship” as well as the abolition of a constitution that gave the army a veto in parliament and for federalism in ethnic divisions. Myanmar.
An older generation of activists formed during bloodthirsty protests in 1988, calling for a strike by government workers for another three weeks.
“We also ask the protesters across the nation to be united and systematically help each other,” said the statement from Min Ko Naing on behalf of the 88 generation group.
After tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Myanmar, local orders were introduced banning gatherings of more than four people. The US Embassy stated that they had received reports of starting at 20.00 to 04.00 local time in the two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.
Bridges connecting central Yangon with urban areas outside were closed on Tuesday, residents said.
There were no further comments from authorities about measures to stop protesters.
Some coup opponents suggested on social media that people should meet in groups of four to protest to get around the ban on large gatherings.
In his first televised speech as the junta’s leader on Monday, Min Aung Hlaing said the junta would form a “true and disciplined democracy”, unlike previous epochs of military rule that left Myanmar in isolation and poverty.
“We will have a majority election and we will hand over power to whoever wins in that election, according to the rules of democracy,” he said. The Election Commission had dismissed its allegations of fraud in last year’s vote.
My Aung Hlaing gave no time frame but the junta has said that a state of emergency will last for a year.
Protestants in Myanmar ‘do not back down’ in the morning after the coup leader promises elections
The comments provoked angry responses on social media, with some posting pictures of themselves putting a finger on the TV as he spoke.
Western governments have largely condemned the coup, although so far there has been little concrete action to put pressure on the generals.
The UN Security Council has called for the release of Suu Kyi and other prisoners. The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday to discuss the crisis on behalf of Britain and the European Union.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is considering targeted sanctions. It said on Monday that it was “moving fast” to form its response.
In a letter on Monday, a member of the Suu Kyi’s NLD asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “use all available means … to ensure a rapid reversal of the coup”.
Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for campaigning for democracy and spent almost 15 years under house arrest as she fought to end almost half a century of military rule.
The 75-year-old has been kept in communication since she was arrested. She is accused of illegally importing six walkie-talkies and will remain in police custody until 15 February.
Her lawyer said he had not seen her. The US State Department said it had made both formal and informal efforts to reach her, but was denied.
Suu Kyi remains extremely popular at home despite damage to her international reputation over the situation of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
( Jowharwith REUTERS and AFP)