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World Killing of protesters fuels anti-coup demonstrations in Myanmar

08:56  23 february  2021
08:56  23 february  2021 Source:   cbsnews.com

Rohingya Activists Are Hoping That the Coup in Myanmar Will Be a Turning Point for Their Struggle

  Rohingya Activists Are Hoping That the Coup in Myanmar Will Be a Turning Point for Their Struggle Building bridges with other Burmese could be crucial. "The common enemy is the military," one activist saysIt’s a dramatic change from 2017, when the rights activist, now living in Germany, was disseminating information about the atrocities Myanmar’s military had unleashed against his community—the mostly Muslim Rohingya, who live in the west of the country. Back then, the majority of the messages he received from other Burmese consisted of death threats and abuse.

In one of the biggest days of Myanmar's anti-coup protests to date, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets of the Southeast Asian nation's largest cities and towns on Monday. The biggest protests were again in the capital, Naypyidaw, and Myanmar's most populous city and former capital, Yangon.

a group of people standing in front of a large crowd of people: Protests Continue In Myanmar © Hkun Lat/Getty Protests Continue In Myanmar

The massive show of people power has yielded images that have gone viral on social media around the world, as peaceful demonstrators defied a foreboding warning from the military junta that seized power early this month.

Myanmar authorities kill at least 38 protesters in bloodiest day since coup

  Myanmar authorities kill at least 38 protesters in bloodiest day since coup At least 38 protesters were killed by authorities in Myanmar on Wednesday, marking the bloodiest day since the military seized power in an apparent coup last month. Demonstrations have been taking place in cities across the Southeast Asian country since its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party were detained by the military on Feb. 1. The protest movement has been growing and the military junta, which calls itself the State Administration Council, has become increasingly violent in its response as weeks of internet shutdowns, threats and mass arrests have not stopped thousands of people from voicing their opposition.

The junta's rulers used state-run television to warn protesters directly that they were risking death, claiming the demonstrators were "now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life."

Mandalay University graduates hold posters with an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a 19-year old woman shot by police on February 9 in Naypyitaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 14, 2021. / Credit: AP © Provided by CBS News Mandalay University graduates hold posters with an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a 19-year old woman shot by police on February 9 in Naypyitaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 14, 2021. / Credit: AP

So far three pro-democracy protesters have lost their lives because of police actions — Mya Thwet Thwet Kaing died on Friday after being shot in the head by police on February 9, just days before her 20th birthday, and two others were killed on Saturday.

Myanmar military warns protesters could suffer 'loss of life' ahead of planned mass strike

  Myanmar military warns protesters could suffer 'loss of life' ahead of planned mass strike Myanmar's military junta on Sunday warned anti-coup protesters they will "suffer loss of life" if demonstrations confront security forces, ahead of planned mass protests and a nationwide strike. © YeMyo/AP Anti-coup protesters face a row of riot police in Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. The daily protests campaigning for civil disobedience in Myanmar are increasingly focusing on businesses and government institutions that sustain the economy.

Following the killings, the U.S. issued its own warning — to the military rulers of Myanmar, which is also known to many as Burma.

"The United States will continue to take firm action against those who perpetrate violence against the people of Burma as they demand the restoration of their democratically elected government. We stand with the people of Burma," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet.

Hope and fear for the future

The generals who staged their coup under the cover of darkness on February 1 have long wielded power in Myanmar, but in recent years they had been forced to share it with a civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Claiming massive fraud in November parliamentary elections that saw Suu Kyi's party win in a landslide, the military junta reasserted itself, arresting her and more than 400 of her political allies.

Tom Andrews, the United Nations Special Rapporteur to Myanmar, told CBS News the military's takeover was "outrageous, and it is simply unacceptable."

Aung San Suu Kyi hit with another charge as defiant protesters return to Myanmar streets following deadly crackdown

  Aung San Suu Kyi hit with another charge as defiant protesters return to Myanmar streets following deadly crackdown Myanmar's ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was hit with another charge Monday, as protesters returned to the streets in a show of defiance following the deadliest day since the military seized power in a coup in early February. © Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Protesters flee from anti-riot police officers during an anti-coup protest following the military crackdown in Yangon, on March 1. Suu Kyi appeared in a court hearing via video conference where she was charged under Myanmar's colonial-era penal code prohibiting publishing information that may "cause fear or alarm," her lawyer said according to Reuters.

"I think the biggest fear of the people in Myanmar is going back, to live under an authoritarian military regime," Andrews said.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Protesters hold massive rallies in Myanmar 10:40 © Provided by CBS News Protesters hold massive rallies in Myanmar 10:40

That fear has driven the remarkable civil disobedience movement filling Myanmar's cities daily since the coup.

In response, the junta first tried to quell the anger by locking away its figurehead. Suu Kyi was charged with illegally possessing six walkie-talkies and breaking a natural disaster law. The military has claimed their power grab was intended to protect democracy.

"I don't know what planet they were on," said Andrews, the U.N. envoy. "If you don't want to interrupt progress to democracy, you don't have a coup."

As the junta faced a rising groundswell of protest on the streets, it turned to the violence which has now left at least three people dead.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Protesters gather and display the three-fingered pro-democracy salute at Sule Square, February 22, 2021, in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. / Credit: Hkun Lat/Getty © Provided by CBS News Protesters gather and display the three-fingered pro-democracy salute at Sule Square, February 22, 2021, in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. / Credit: Hkun Lat/Getty

"My fear is that a lot of people lose their lives at the hands of this military," said Andrews.

The demonstrators insist they won't give up until Aung San Suu Kyi is free, but the junta has the power to detain her for as long as they want.

Already memorials have risen on the streets to Mya Thwe Thwe Khine, the pro-democracy protesters' first martyr.

A protest leader addressed thousands of people at a recent rally, saying: "We must be the last generation to experience a coup."

Video: Myanmar police hold AP journalist in chokehold .
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A video of the arrest of Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw as he was photographing Myanmar security forces charging at anti-coup protesters shows him being quickly surrounded and held in a chokehold as handcuffs are placed on him. Authorities have charged Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years. The video starts with Thein Zaw standing by the side of a road on Saturday photographing dozens of security forces as they run at a group of protesters at an intersection in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, that has become a meeting point for demonstrators.

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