UN envoy seeks action on junta
Myanmar security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to break up a protest in Yangon on Saturday, just hours after a UN special envoy called on the Security Council to take action against the ruling junta for the killings of protesters.
The southeast Asian country has been plunged in turmoil since the military overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, with daily protests and strikes that have choked business and paralysed administration.
Sporadic protests were staged across Myanmar on Saturday and local media reported that police fired tear gas shells and stun grenades to break up a protest in the Sanchaung district of Yangon, the country’s biggest city. There were no reports of casualties.
More than 50 protesters have been killed since the coup, according to the UN — at least 38 on Wednesday alone. Protesters demand the release of Suu Kyi and the respect of November’s election, which her party won in landslide, but which the army rejected.
“How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?” special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener told a closed meeting of the 15-member UN Security Council on Friday, according to a copy of her remarks reviewed by Reuters.
“It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results.” A junta spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment.
The army says it has been restrained in stopping the protests, but has said it will not allow them to threaten stability.
Several hundred people gathered in Sydney on Saturday to protest against the coup, singing and holding up three fingers, a salute that has come to symbolise solidarity and resistance across Myanmar.
“We would like to urge the Australian government to work closely with the US, UK and EU governments and take strong action against these Myanmar military dictators,” said protest organiser Thein Moe Win.
In Myanmar’s southern town of Dawei, protesters chanted, “Democracy is our cause” and “The revolution must prevail”.
People have taken to Myanmar’s streets in their hundreds of thousands at times, vowing to continue action in a country that spent nearly half a century under military rule.