Tensions continue to rise in Burma on Tuesday. On the fourth day of major protests across the country against the February 1 coup, law enforcement officials used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.
In Naypyidaw, the junta-built capital in the heart of the jungle, police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators. Earlier, the police made repeated use of water cannons against a small group of protesters who refused to disperse in front of a security checkpoint.
In Mandalay, the country’s second city, the police used tear gas “against protesters waving flags of the National League for Democracy” (LND), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, overthrown by the coup. ‘State, said a resident.
Authorities banned gatherings of more than five people the day before in Rangoon, Napypidaw and other towns across the country. A curfew has been declared. “Actions must be taken […] against offenses which disturb, prevent and destroy the stability of the State ”, warned the State television vis-a-vis the wind of sling which blows on the country.
Braving the threats, the demonstrators again took to the streets on Tuesday. In Rangoon, the economic capital, protesters gathered near the LND headquarters. “No dictatorship! “,” We want our leader! “Suu Kyi, held incommunicado since her arrest on February 1, was among other things written on banners. In another part of the city, dozens of teachers marched, waving with three fingers in resistance. The warnings from the military “don’t worry us, that’s why we’re going out today.” We cannot accept their excuse for electoral fraud. We don’t want a military dictatorship, ”said Thein Winun, a teacher.
Arrest of 150 deputies, local officials and activists
Over the past three days, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have marched in a country of approximately 55 million people. This wind of protest is unprecedented since the popular uprising of 2007, “the saffron revolution” led by the monks and violently repressed by the army.
The risk of repression is real. “We all know what the army is capable of: massive atrocities, murders of civilians, enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests,” said Tom Villarin of the grouping of parliamentarians of Asean (Association of nations of Southeast Asia) for human rights. 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.
Army Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing spoke for the first time Monday evening on the army’s Myawaddy TV channel. 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.
The pretext for last November’s elections
Burma has lived under the yoke of the army for almost 50 years since its independence in 1948. The February 1 putsch ended a brief democratic parenthesis of a decade. The army contests the regularity of the legislative elections of November, won overwhelmingly by the NLD. But international observers did not see any major problems during this election. In reality, the generals feared to see their influence diminish after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, who could have wanted to modify the Constitution very favorable to the military.
Very recently criticized by the international community for her passivity in the Rohingya Muslim crisis, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, under house arrest for 15 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.
The coup was condemned by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and many other countries. New Zealand on Tuesday announced the suspension of its high-level military and political contacts with Burma, becoming the first country to decide on junta isolation. The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on these events on Friday.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr