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World Myanmar police break up protests as ASEAN diplomatic effort stalls

07:57  03 march  2021
07:57  03 march  2021 Source:   reuters.com

At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar

  At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar The protesters were shot and killed by the military government, according to the UN.For nearly a month, a growing coalition of protesters has demanded the end of military rule in Myanmar, following a coup that led to the arrest of the nation’s civilian leaders on February 1. Demonstrations have taken place continuously across the country, taking the form of student protests, the halting of public transportation, and work stoppages that threaten to derail Myanmar’s economy.

(Reuters) - Security forces fired in the air and used tear gas to break up anti-junta demonstrations in Myanmar's two biggest cities on Wednesday, witnesses said, a day after a regional diplomatic push to help end the crisis made little if any headway.

a crowd of people at a train station: Video grab of protesters setting off smoke grenades to block the view from snipers in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar © Reuters/SOCIAL MEDIA Video grab of protesters setting off smoke grenades to block the view from snipers in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle: Video grab of protesters setting off smoke grenades to block the view from snipers in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar © Reuters/SOCIAL MEDIA Video grab of protesters setting off smoke grenades to block the view from snipers in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar

Foreign Ministers from Southeast Asian neighbours urged restraint but failed to unite behind a call for the military to release ousted government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and restore democracy.

Scuffles in Yangon as Facebook bans all Myanmar military accounts

  Scuffles in Yangon as Facebook bans all Myanmar military accounts Pro-military demonstrators punch bystanders after people in the area bang pots and pans to show their disapproval.Pro-military demonstrators rallying in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, punched several bystanders, according to local media, after anti-coup demonstrators and residents banged pots and pans and crossed their wrists to express their disapproval of the rally.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Video grab of protesters standing behind a barricade in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar © Reuters/SOCIAL MEDIA Video grab of protesters standing behind a barricade in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar

At least 21 people have been killed since the military seized back power with a Feb. 1 coup, ending tentative progress towards democratic civilian rule.

"Oh my eyes, it hurts," one woman in a teacher's uniform shouted as she and other protesters scattered through a cloud of tear gas in Mandalay, according to a live video feed.

The overthrow of Suu Kyi's government has triggered protests across the country and international dismay.

An activist in Chin State said strikes were taking place in nearly all of its townships.

"We're aiming to show that no one in this country wants dictatorship," Salai Lian told Reuters from the western state.

Myanmar’s Digital Insurgents Have Finally Found a Way to Hurt the Junta

  Myanmar’s Digital Insurgents Have Finally Found a Way to Hurt the Junta This story was produced in partnership with Coda Story. One month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country. Now, in addition to taking their anger to the streets, an underground movement of pro-democracy activists has unleashed a raft of new digital tools on the armed forces and police. Myanmar’s powerful militaryOne month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country.

A group tracking arrests said dozens more people may have been detained on Tuesday, including a protest organiser who it said was taken away at gunpoint by security men in unmarked cars.

Ousted President Win Myint is facing two new charges, his lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, said, including one for a breach of the constitution that is punishable by up to three years on prison.

a close up of Win Myint: Myanmar President Win Myint is pictured at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw © Reuters/ANN WANG Myanmar President Win Myint is pictured at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) failed to make any breakthrough in a virtual foreign ministers' meeting on Myanmar on Tuesday.

While united in a call for restraint, only four members - Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore - called for the release of Suu Kyi and other detainees.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Protest against the military coup in Yangon © Reuters/STRINGER Protest against the military coup in Yangon

"We expressed ASEAN's readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner," the ASEAN chair, Brunei, said in a statement.

Sri Lanka invites Myanmar’s ‘incumbent FM’, denies endorsing coup

  Sri Lanka invites Myanmar’s ‘incumbent FM’, denies endorsing coup Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry says Myanmar’s ‘incumbent foreign minister’, a military officer, invited for BIMSTEC event.“ProtestSriLanka” began trending among coup opponents on Twitter in Myanmar on Wednesday after it emerged – through a letter leaked online – that Colombo had invited military foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) meeting scheduled at the end of March.

Myanmar's state media said the military-appointed foreign minister attended the ASEAN meeting that "exchanged views on regional and international issues", but made no mention of the focus on Myanmar's problems.

It said Wunna Maung Lwin "apprised the meeting of voting irregularities" in November's election.

'NO MORE WORDS'

The military justified the coup saying its complaints of voter fraud in the Nov. 8 elections were ignored. Suu Kyi's party won by a landslide, earning a second five-year term. The election commission said the vote was fair.

Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has said the intervention was to protect Myanmar's fledgling democracy and has pledged to hold new elections but given no time frame.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday in an interview the coup was a "tragic" step back for Myanmar and the use of lethal force by its security forces was "disastrous".

ASEAN's bid to find a way out of the crisis has drawn criticism from inside Myanmar, with concern it would legitimise the junta and not help the country.

Myanmar military ‘murdered’ at least 70 since coup: UN

  Myanmar military ‘murdered’ at least 70 since coup: UN UN special rapporteur suggests ‘crimes against humanity’ being committed; calls for sanctions on military-owned firms.Talking about “a horrible truth”, human rights investigator Thomas Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday that “the country of Myanmar is being controlled by a murderous, illegal regime”.

"No more words, action," activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told Reuters in a message when asked about the ASEAN effort. She called for sanctions on businesses linked to the military.

Tuesday evening's news bulletin on Myanmar state television said agitators were mobilising people on social media and forming "illegal organisations".

It said tear gas and stun guns grenades were used to disperse crowds in Yangon and 12 rioters were arrested.

After dark in parts of Yangon, people came to their balconies to chant anti-military slogans, including "the revolution must succeed". Others banged pots and pans in a nightly ritual of defiance.

Ye Myo Hein, a researcher and founder of Burma Studies Center, said security forces had fired shots to discourage people from taking part.

"Afterwards, a volley of pans rattling and drum beating filled the air," Ye Myo Hein posted on Facebook.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been held incommunicado since the coup but appeared at a court hearing via video conferencing this week and looked in good health, a lawyer said.

She is one of nearly 1,300 people who have been detained, according to activists, among them six journalists in Yangon, one of whom works for the Associated Press, which has called for his release.

Myanmar's representative to the United Nations, who was appointed by Suu Kyi and last week denounced the coup, has staked a claim as the legitimate representative, according to letters seen by Reuters, even though the junta fired him last week.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Myanmar women risk it all to challenge the junta .
Since 1988, Myanmar women have been the backbone of the fight for democracy.During the first week of resistance against the coup, thousands of women garment workers walked out of factories to join the demonstrations, inspiring the masses.

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