The pressure is mounting in Burma. As pro-democracy protesters take to the streets in greater numbers every day against the February 1 coup and the arrest of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the military threatens to use force.
The slingshot grows
On Monday, several hundred thousand people, according to various estimates, gathered in Yangon, the economic capital. Saffron robed monks, students and nurses joined the movement, waving red flags in Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) colors.
Demonstrations were held in other cities, with many residents parading on their two-wheelers in a concert of horns. Police used water cannons in the capital Naypyidaw against protesters.
This wind of protest is unprecedented in Burma since the popular uprising of 2007, the Saffron Revolution led by monks and violently repressed by the army. And the risk of repression is real.
The army chief responds
The commander-in-chief of the army, Min Aung Hlaing, spoke for the first time in the evening, again invoking “electoral fraud” during the legislative elections in November to justify his putsch. “We are investigating the authorities responsible” for these irregularities, he added on the army channel Myawaddy TV.
He pledged to “hold free and fair elections” at the end of the one-year state of emergency and promised a military regime “different” from previous ones.
Burma has lived under the yoke of the army for almost 50 years since its independence in 1948. The putsch of February 1, with the overthrow of the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the arrest of the latter, ended in a brief democratic parenthesis of a decade.
Martial law and threat of reprisals
Martial law has been decreed in particular in several districts of Rangoon and Mandalay, the country’s second city. Demonstrations and gatherings of more than five people are prohibited and a curfew is in place from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time.
The army has also brandished the threat of reprisals against pro-democracy protesters. “Actions must be taken […] against offenses which disturb, prevent and destroy the stability of the state, ”state television reported.
Since February 1, more than 150 people – deputies, local officials, activists – have been arrested and are still in detention, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, based in Yangon. Internet connections have been partially restored and mobile data restored. But access to Facebook, a communication tool for millions of Burmese, remained disrupted.
“We are on the side of the Burmese people and we support their right” to “demonstrate peacefully in favor of the democratically elected government,” responded the US State Department, which condemned the restrictions on protesters. The United States also claimed to have “tried to get in touch with Aung San Suu Kyi” but to have encountered an end of disallowance of the putschists.
The UK, the European Union and 19 other members of the UN Human Rights Council have called for an emergency meeting, while Pope Francis has urged the “speedy” release of the United Nations. officials imprisoned.
Washington and the Europeans continue to pose the threat of sanctions against the generals, but the international community has not decided on any concrete action for the moment.
Very recently criticized by the international community for her passivity in the Rohingya Muslim crisis, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for fifteen years for her opposition to the junta, remains adored in her country . The former leader would be “in good health”, under house arrest in Naypyidaw, according to her party.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr