Hundreds of people organized this Friday (5) the largest act of resistance in Myanmar since the military interrupted the still embryonic democratic transition, gave a coup and took power.
Expressing the wish that the seizure of power would fail and be reversed, the group formed by a majority of professors and students gathered in front of the University of Rangoon, the largest city in the country.
Protesters sang a song that became popular during the 1988 uprising, when more than 3,000 Myanmars were killed by the military regime’s violent crackdown on street protests.
The group also adopted as a symbol the gesture of joining three fingers together, which originates from the book and film franchise “The Hunger Games” and is used as a display of thanks, admiration and farewell to a group. loved one. In real life, the same greeting has been used in protests in Hong Kong and Thailand.
“While [os militares] save energy, we will not work. If everyone does this, the system will crash, ”Professor Win Win Maw told AFP news agency.
University professors and students represent the latest adherence to the civil disobedience movement, which started among medical professionals, spread to some remaining sectors of the pre-coup government and won the official support of the party of fallen leaders.
Doctors, nurses and other staff at more than 70 public hospitals and medical services in 30 cities have stopped working. Officials from various ministries have also temporarily suspended their activities.
Many of those who continue to work wore red ribbons on their uniforms to mark their opposition to military rule. The color refers to the National League for Democracy (LND), a party that won a landslide victory over the military-backed legend in the November elections and which on Friday declared its formal support for the civil disobedience.
In a statement, the LND called the military coup and the arrest of State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi unacceptable. The party has also pledged to help those arrested or fired for opposing the seizure of power.
Since Suu Kyi’s arrest on an obscure charge of violating trade rules – she allegedly illegally imported six walkie-talkies – at least 150 political leaders have been arrested, according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, an NGO based in Rangoon.
In Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, another 30 people were arrested for participating in honking the military regime for three consecutive nights. According to regional officials quoted by the local press, they will be accused of having broken a law which prohibits “making noise on the public highway”.
Besides its political significance, the practice of knocking pots also has spiritual significance for part of Burmese society. “We are used to making as much noise as possible to drive evil spirits out of houses and villages. Here the demons are the military,” said Thinzar Shunlei Yi, who created a civil disobedience group after the coup. State.
At dawn on Friday, another senior LND officer was arrested by the military junta in Rangoon. Win Htein, 79, one of Suu Kyu’s oldest aides, was taken from her daughter’s home by authorities, according to a party spokesperson. However, it is not yet clear what the costs will be.
“I have never been afraid of them because I have done nothing wrong in my life,” he told Reuters news agency by telephone. On Wednesday (3), during an interview with French radio RFI, Htein said he knew he would be arrested, but that he was not afraid of being used to the peaceful struggle. The LND veteran spent more than 20 years in prison while Myanmar was under military command.
The LND won 83% of the vote and 396 of the 476 seats in Myanmar’s parliament. However, the military claim that there was fraud in the elections and that for this reason they took control of the country. The regime says power will be transferred after “free and fair elections are held,” but the promise is met with skepticism.
The coup has been severely criticized by the international community. Political leaders of different nationalities have called for the restoration of the democratically elected government and the release of all civilian prisoners. We are a family business.
On Thursday (4), United States President Joe Biden again called on Myanmar’s military to relinquish power and violence, citing the possible consequences if the situation in the country is not resolved quickly.
“There is no doubt that, in a democracy, force should never seek to override the will of the people or try to erase the result of a credible election,” said the American leader. “The Burmese military must relinquish the power it has seized and release detained defenders, activists and officials, lift restrictions on telecommunications and avoid violence.”
The US government determined on Tuesday (2) that it viewed Myanmar’s seizure of power as a coup, which in practice involves restrictions on the aid the United States provides to the country. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said sanctions targeting individuals and entities controlled by the military are also being considered.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, does not mention a military coup and does not address political prisoners in a note published on the subject.
The UN Security Council also called Thursday for the release of the detainees. In a declaration signed by the 15 countries that make up the summit, they stressed the “need to defend democratic institutions and processes, to refrain from all violence and to fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and Right wing state”.
They are permanent summit members of the United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China. The text was looser than the UK’s original draft and made no mention of a coup – apparently to gain the support of China and Russia, which traditionally protect Myanmar, for more action. incisor of the Council.
Chronology of Myanmar’s political history
1948: Former British colony, Myanmar becomes an independent country 1962: General Ne Win abolishes the Constitution of 1947 and establishes a military regime 1974: Beginning of the first post-independence constitution 1988: The violent repression of demonstrations against the military regime generates international critics 1990: National League for Democracy (LND), in opposition to the regime, wins the first multiparty election in 30 years and is prevented from coming to power 1991: Aung San Suu Kyi, of the LND, wins the Nobel Prize in peace 1997: US and EU impose sanctions on Myanmar for human rights violations and disrespect for 2008 election results: Assembly approves new Constitution 2011: Thein Sein, retired general, is elected president and the military regime is dissolved 2015: The LND obtains the majority in both houses of Parliament 2016: Htin Kyaw is elected the first civilian president since 1962 coup and Suu Kyi assumes the post of State Councilor, equivalent to that of Prime Minister 2018: Kyaw resigns and Win Myi nt assumes the 2020 presidency: in the legislative elections, the LND receives 83% of the vote and defeats pro-military party 2021: army alleges election fraud, arrests LND leaders, seizes power with new coup