Tuesday, October 19, 2021

WATCH: Myanmar Military Crackdown Intensifies As Pro-Democracy Protesters Seek Release of Suu Kyi

Armored vehicles and tanks have taken over the cities in Myanmar to crush the ongoing protests against the military rule in the country. Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets after the military, also called Tatmadaw, arrested Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on February 1.

On Monday, Myanmar’s military leaders have extended the detention of Nobel laureate Suu Kyi. Her lawyer has said she will be remanded till February 17. The development is likely to increase the tensions as people demand that democracy be restored at the earliest.

The country went under “state-ordered information blackout” as there was a total internet shutdown on Sunday. Even though connections were restored on Monday, NetBlocks, an independent internet watchdog,  reported most of the residents still could not access social media.

On Sunday, there was a heavy deployment of armed forces in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, which is 1,480 kilometers from Yangon. Security personnel fired tear gas, smoke bombs, and used water cannons to disperse the protesters.

As many as three people were wounded by rubber bullets during the clash last week. Kyaw Myint, a Myanmar Red Cross official who witnessed the incident, said “Three got shot, one woman in the womb, one man on his cheek and one man on his arm.”

As per reports, several journalists have been arrested as well. Tatmadaw had warned people against giving refuge to activists against whom the military had issued arrest warrants.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council was told that the people of Myanmar are in “great peril” after police clashed with protesters and fired rubber bullets. The Council held a special session in Geneva to discuss the ensuing crisis in the country.

The council’s dedicated Myanmar investigator, Thomas Andrews, told the 47-member body, “As the people in Myanmar demonstrate their remarkable courage and resolve, let us demonstrate our support of them and the principles and values they are fighting for.”

He said the generals were showing “signs of desperation” and would be held accountable.

Meanwhile, embassies of the US, the EU, the UK, Canada, Germany, and France urged the security forces to “refrain from violence” against demonstrators and civilians. In a joint statement, they said: “We call on security forces to refrain from violence against demonstrators, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government.”

As reported earlier by The Eurasian Times, the Myanmar military had seized power by detaining Suu Kyi and members of her government by alleging that the government failed to properly investigate allegations of fraud in last year’s election, which were won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

On February 4, the United Nations Security Council came out with a statement taking a strong note of the military coup and calling for an immediate release of the civilian leaders, including State Counselor Suu Kyi and President Win Mynt.

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