Tens of thousands of protesters defy ban in Myanmar

Crowds protest in Yangon, Myanmar
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Tens of thousands of protesters defied a ban on mass gatherings in Myanmar again on Wednesday to rally against the military takeover of the government.

Demonstrators took to the streets in Myanmar’s biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay, while hundreds of government workers protested in the capital of Naypyitaw, according to The Associated Press. Unlike Tuesday, there were no reports of a violent response by authorities during Wednesday’s protests, Reuters reported. 

In Yangon, demonstrators marched around the city holding flags in support of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party after the military detained her earlier this month. Several held a mock funeral for Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who took over Myanmar’s government after the coup. 

Some gathered outside of foreign embassies, including Japan’s, calling for international action in response to the coup. There, demonstrators sat in inflatable rubber pools with three or fewer protesters each in an apparently humorous way to adhere to the military’s ban against gatherings of more than five people, the AP noted. 

On Tuesday, the military fired rubber bullets and water cannons in an effort to disperse the demonstrators. At least four people were sent to the hospital, with a doctor telling Reuters that one woman who was shot in the head with a rubber bullet was not expected to survive.

The army’s True News Information Unit had reported the military solely used non-lethal weapons and was looking into the response.

On Tuesday night, the military raided the national headquarters of Suu Kyi’s party, with a spokesman saying on Facebook that computer hardware and documents were confiscated, according to the AP. 

Military leaders detained Suu Kyi and other party officials early on Feb. 1 before announcing in a television broadcast that it had taken over the country and implemented a yearlong state of emergency.

Tensions had mounted between the military and government after recent elections showed Suu Kyi’s party winning in a landslide, which the military attributed to election fraud and irregularities. The country’s election commission has dismissed claims of fraud, however.

The U.S. has condemned the military coup and use of force against protesters. The United Nations Human Rights Council is expected to take up “the human rights implications of the crisis in Myanmar” during a special session later this week, according to the AP.

Tags demonstrations Military coup Myanmar Myanmar coup Myanmar protests

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