Myanmar: Thousands of protesters take to streets again

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Feb 07, 2021, 10:47 AM IST
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Demonstrators protest against the military coup and demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, February 6, 2021. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Despite the large-scale deployment of riot police –- backed by water cannon -- there have been no major clashes reported so far

Thousands of people protesting the military coup in Myanmar took to streets again on Sunday. The internet blackout failed to keep public outrage at bay. The fresh protests have followed largest protests till date on Saturday. The military coup in Myanmar has brought its 10-year experiment with democracy to a halt.

Thousands of chanting protesters marched in Yangon, backed by a din of car horns. They held up banners -- including some saying "We do not want military dictatorship" -- and the signature red flags of Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) party.

"We will move forward and keep demanding until we get democracy. Down with the military dictatorship," said protester Myo Win, 37.

Some of the protesters the three-finger salute that is inspired by 'Hunger Games'. 

Despite the large-scale deployment of riot police –- backed by water cannon -- there have been no major clashes reported so far.

"#Myanmar's military and police must ensure the right to peaceful assembly is fully respected and demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals," the United Nations Human Rights office tweeted after Saturday's protests.

The nationwide blackout has spurred the protests further. The military junta had already banned Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before the complete internet blackout.

Online calls to protest the army takeover have prompted bold displays of defiance, including the nightly deafening clamour of people around the country banging pots and pans -- a practice traditionally associated with driving out evil spirits.

Yangon residents repeated the pot-banging at 8 am on Sunday.

Civil disobedience

As protests gathered steam this week, the junta ordered telecom networks to freeze access to Facebook, an extremely popular service in the country and arguably its main mode of communication.
The platform had hosted a rapidly growing "Civil Disobedience Movement" forum that had inspired civil servants, healthcare professionals, and teachers to show their dissent by boycotting their jobs.

On Sunday, a live Facebook video feed showed the Yangon protesters as they marched through the streets, as well as police in riot personnel standing by in some locations.
It was not immediately clear how the broadcast was bypassing the government block.

The military had widened its efforts to quell organised dissent on Friday when it demanded new blocks on other social media services including Twitter.

"The generals are now attempting to paralyse the citizen movement of resistance -- and keep the outside world in the dark -- by cutting virtually all internet access," said Tom Andrews, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.

(With AFP inputs)