Protests in Myanmar as UN warns of crisis
Protesters against military rule marched in Myanmar on Saturday three months after a coup ended a democratic transition, with several small blasts compounding a sense of crisis that a UN envoy warned could bring state administration to a halt.
The military has tried to end dissent and impose its authority on a people largely opposed to the return of rule by the generals after 10 years of democratic reforms that included a government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi.
Despite a relentless crackdown in which at least 759 protesters have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, crowds come out day after day to reject the junta.
“Our cause, democracy, our cause, a federal union. Free arrested leaders,” protesters chanted at one of two rallies in the main city of Yangon.
Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup the along with many other members of her party. The AAPP says more than 3,400 people have been detained for opposing the military.
People also rallied in the second city of Mandalay and the southern town of Dawei, media reported.
There were no immediate reports of violence.
Media reported several small blasts in different places including Yangon late on Friday and on Saturday. There were no immediate reports of casualties and no claims of responsibility.
The UN special envoy on Myanmar told the Security Council on Friday that in the absence of a collective international response to the coup, violence was worsening and the running of the state risked coming to a standstill, according to diplomats who attended the private meeting.
Christine Schraner Burgener briefed the 15-member council from Thailand, where she has been meeting regional leaders. She hopes to travel to Myanmar but the military has yet to approve a visit.
“The general administration of the state could risk coming to a standstill as the pro-democracy movement continues in spite of the ongoing use of lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture as part of the military’s repression,” Burgener said.