The Myanmar police are taking action against protests; One woman was killed, the media say
© Reuters. Myanmar’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, held up three fingers at the end of his speech in New York
(Reuters) – Police cracked down on the gathering of opponents of military rule in Myanmar on Saturday and a woman was shot dead, media reported, after the country’s UN envoy called on the United Nations to use “whatever means” to do so stop a february. 1 coup.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army took power and arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of their party leadership. She claimed to have committed fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
Uncertainty about Suu Kyi’s whereabouts has grown when the independent Myanmar Now website quoted officials from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Friday that she had been moved from house arrest to an undisclosed location this week.
The coup brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets of Myanmar and condemned them from Western countries, with some imposing limited sanctions.
Police were in effect in the capital, Yangon and elsewhere on Saturday, taking positions at usual protest venues and holding people while they gathered, witnesses said. Several media workers were arrested.
Three domestic media outlets reported that a woman was shot dead in downtown Monwya. The police there were not immediately available for comment.
Earlier, a protester in the city said the police fired water cannons when they surrounded a crowd.
“They used water cannons against peaceful protesters – they shouldn’t treat people like that,” Aye Aye Tint told Reuters from the city.
In Yangon, despite the police presence, people came out to sing and sing and then dispersed on back streets as police advanced, firing tear gas, firing tranquilizers, and shooting rifles in the air, witnesses said.
Similar scenes took place in the second city of Mandalay and several other cities, including Dawei in the south, witnesses and media said.
Among those detained at a Mandalay protest was Win Mya Mya, one of only two Muslim MPs in the NLD, the media said.
Junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing said the authorities used minimal force. Nevertheless, at least three demonstrators died during the weeks of turbulence. The army says a police officer was also killed.
At the UN General Assembly, Myanmar’s Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun said he was speaking on behalf of the Suu Kyi government and calling for “all means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military and provide protection and security for the people.”
“We need the strongest possible international community action to end the military coup immediately … and restore democracy,” he said.
Kyaw Moe Tun was emotional as he read the statement on behalf of a group of elected politicians who he believed represented the legitimate government.
The professional diplomat uttered his last words in Burmese and pronounced the three-finger salute of the demonstrators for democracy and announced: “Our cause will prevail.”
Reuters was unable to immediately contact the army for comment.
Coup opponents hailed Kyaw Moe Tun as heroes and flooded social media with messages of thanks. UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said he was overwhelmed while watching the ambassador’s “act of courage”.
“It is time for the world to take action on this bold call,” Andrews said on Twitter.
China’s envoy did not criticize the coup, saying the situation was part of Myanmar’s “internal affairs”. China supports diplomacy in Southeast Asian countries, he said.
In worse news for the generals, who traditionally have shaken off outside pressure, Australia’s Woodside (OTC 🙂 Petroleum Ltd said it had reduced its presence in Myanmar over concerns over rights violations and violence by security forces.
“Woodside supports the people of Myanmar and we hope for a peaceful path to democracy,” said the company.
“LOSS OF RIGHTS”
A lawyer for Suu Kyi, Khin Maung Zaw, told Reuters that he had also heard that she had been moved from her home in the capital, Naypyitaw, but could not confirm it. The authorities did not respond to a request for comment.
The attorney said he was not given access to Suu Kyi before her next hearing on Monday and was concerned about her access to justice and legal assistance.
75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi spent almost 15 years under house arrest during the military rule. She is accused of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and violating a natural disaster law by violating coronavirus protocols.
The army has promised an election but has not given a date. It has imposed a one-year state of emergency.
The question of an election is at the heart of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a member.
Indonesia has taken the lead, but coup opponents fear the efforts could legitimize the junta and what they see as their offer to cancel the November election.