Protesters in Myanmar are gathering again after the worst day of violence
© Reuters. Police and soldiers are seen protests against the military coup in Mandalay
(Reuters) – Thousands of opponents of the February 1 military in Myanmar rallied again in cities from north to south Sunday, undeterred by the bloodiest episode of their campaign the previous day, when police and soldiers opened fire in Mandalay city, killing two .
Early Sunday, police arrested a famous actor who was wanted for supporting the opposition to the coup, his wife said, while Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 deleted the military’s main page in accordance with its standards of prohibiting incitement to violence.
The military was unable to suppress the demonstrations and an anti-strike campaign against the coup and the imprisonment of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others, even with promises of new elections, arrests and warnings of dissent.
In the capital, Yangon, several thousand young people gathered in two places to chant slogans, while hundreds gathered peacefully in the second city of Mandalay, as recorded by a media company.
In the northern city of Myitkyina, where confrontations have occurred in recent days, people laid flowers for the dead protesters while young people drove around with banners on motorbikes.
Crowds marched in the central cities of Monywa and Bagan and in Dawei and Myeik in the south.
“They were aimed at the heads of unarmed civilians. They were aimed at our future,” a young protester in Mandalay told the crowd.
Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun, who is also the spokesman for the new military council, has not responded to Reuters’ attempts to telephone him for comment.
He told a press conference on Tuesday that the army’s actions were constitutional and most popular, and accused the protesters of inciting violence.
The protests, which lasted more than two weeks, were largely peaceful, in contrast to earlier opposition episodes during half a century of direct military rule until 2011.
Ethnic minority groups, poets and transport workers marched peacefully in various locations on Saturday, but tensions escalated in Mandalay, where police and soldiers faced striking shipyard workers.
Some protesters fired catapults at the police while they played cat and mouse. Police responded with tear gas and gunshots at the protesters, witnesses said.
Video clips on social media showed security guards firing and witnesses said they found the spent cartridges with live rounds and rubber bullets.
Two people were shot and 20 injured, said Ko Aung, a volunteer rescue director.
The police were unavailable for comment, but the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said the strikers sabotaged ships and attacked police with sticks, knives and catapults. Eight police officers and several soldiers were injured.
The newspaper made no mention of the deaths, but said: “Some of the aggressive protesters were also injured by security forces’ security measures.”
A young protester was the first death among anti-coup protesters on Friday. She was shot in the head on February 9 in the capital, Naypyitaw. The army says a police officer died as a result of injuries during a protest.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) condemned the violence in Mandalay as a crime against humanity.
The army took power after alleging fraud in the November 8 elections that the NLD swept and arrested Suu Kyi and others. The election commission had dismissed the fraud complaints.
Facebook said it deleted the military’s main page, Tatmadaw True News Information, for repeated violations of its “prohibition of incitement to violence and coordination of harm” standards.
Early on Sunday, police arrested actor Lu Min, who was a prominent figure in protests in Yangon and one of six celebrities the army said Wednesday was looking for an anti-incitement law to encourage officials to to join the protest.
His wife, Khin Sabai Oo, said in a video posted on his Facebook page that the police came to her home in Yangon and took him away.
According to the activist group of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 569 people were arrested in connection with the coup.
Western countries that had previously condemned the coup spoke out against the violence.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was “deeply concerned” at reports of security forces shooting at demonstrators.
France, Singapore and the UK also condemned the violence. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the shooting of demonstrators was “beyond the pale”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter that lethal violence was unacceptable.
The United States, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand announced limited sanctions focused on military leaders, but the generals long ago eased foreign pressure.
Suu Kyi is charged with violating a natural disaster management law and illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. Your next court date is March 1st.