Myanmar's neighbours press for restoration of democracy, Suu Kyi's release  

WION Web Team
Naypyitaw  Published: Mar 02, 2021, 07:33 PM(IST)

Protesters take cover as they clash with riot police officers during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 28, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )

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The calls from fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) came as Myanmar police again opened fire to disperse crowds after weeks of demonstrations against military rule. Several people were wounded, witnesses said

Myanmar's neighbours pressed its ruling military on Tuesday to release ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and cease what Singapore called the disastrous use of lethal force against opponents of their February 1 coup and work out a solution to the crisis. 

The calls from fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) came as Myanmar police again opened fire to disperse crowds after weeks of demonstrations against military rule. Several people were wounded, witnesses said. 

ASEAN foreign ministers held talks with a representative of the junta in a video call two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military overthrew Suu Kyi's elected government. 

At least 21 people have been killed since the coup, which Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with the BBC was a 'tragic' step back for Myanmar. 

The foreign minister of Indonesia, which has been pushing a regional diplomatic effort, urged Myanmar to 'open its doors' to the ASEAN bloc to resolve the escalating tension. 

Speaking to reporters in Jakarta, the minister, Retno Marsudi, called for the release of political detainees and for the restoration of democracy, while pledging that ASEAN countries would not break their pledge of not interfering in each other's affairs. 

"Restoring democracy back on track must be pursued," Retno said. 

"Indonesia underlines that the will, the interest and the voices of the people of Myanmar must be respected." 

ASEAN groups Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. 

The bloc's effort to engage with Myanmar's military has been criticised by supporters of democracy, with a committee of ousted Myanmar lawmakers declaring the junta a terrorist group and saying ASEAN's engagement would give it legitimacy. 

Sa Sa, the committee's anointed envoy to the United Nations, said ASEAN should have no dealings with "this illegitimate military-led regime". 

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