The number of protesters killed during Saturday’s protests (20) against the military coup in Myanmar on February 1 has risen to three. According to emergency services in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, more than 20 people were injured and two died as a result of gunfire from security forces cracking down on the acts.
“A bullet to the head died on the spot. Another later died with a bullet in the chest,” a volunteer doctor told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. The two victims, whose identity has not yet been released, join Mya Khaing, whose death was confirmed on Friday (19), ten days after she was also shot in the head during protests in the capital. of the country, Naypyitaw.
The military junta spokesman said Mya’s case would be investigated, but officials had not yet spoken publicly about the two deaths on Saturday.
The incidents corroborate reports that police could use deadly ammunition – in addition to rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas – against protesters, but the brutal crackdown has not tempered the spirits of crowds who continued to take to the streets daily for more. more than two weeks.
“They can bring down a young woman, but they cannot steal the hope and determination of a determined people,” wrote on Twitter Tom Andrews, UN special envoy for human rights in Myanmar.
On Saturday, youth groups paid tribute to Mya during protests in Rangoon and Naypyitaw. “Sadness over her death is one thing, but we also have the courage to carry on for her,” student Khin Maw Maw told Reuters. On social networks, the young woman, who turned 20 on Thursday (18) in a coma, the day before her death, was described as a heroine and a martyr.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to all those injured in the peaceful protests in Myanmar,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday. “We condemn all violence against the people of Myanmar and reiterate our appeals to the military not to use violence against peaceful protesters.”
In addition to Naypyitaw, Rangoon and Mandalay, Saturday’s acts have spread to several parts of the country. The clashes have been recurrent: scenes of protesters throwing stones at police officers who, in turn, respond with tear gas and gunfire – although it is not always clear what kind of ammunition they are using – have become commonplace since the 1st coup.
These acts call for the end of the dictatorship, the repeal of the 2008 Constitution, deemed favorable to the army, and the release of political prisoners, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, State Councilor of Myanmar and, in practice, head of civilian government. deposited by the military. Since taking power, 546 people have been detained by the junta that now rules the country, according to the Myanmar Political Prisoners Assistance Association.
Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest, was detained on an obscure charge of violating trade rules – she allegedly illegally imported six walkie-talkies. This week, she was also charged with an alleged violation of protocols to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the same complaint filed against President Win Myint, also filed and detained.
The National League for Democracy (NLD), the Suu Kyu and Myint party that has ruled the country since 2015, won 83% of the vote and won 396 of 476 seats in parliament in Myanmar’s last elections, held in November of the last year. . The legend, however, was unable to take over when the coup was implemented on the day the new legislature was inaugurated. The Military-backed Solidarity and Development Union Party won only 33 seats. We are a family business.
The military attempted to use alleged election fraud charges to justify the seizure of power. The military also added to the narrative the argument that the country’s electoral commission used the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to prevent a fair campaign.
General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the armed forces and head of the junta which now commands the country, declared a state of emergency on February 1 that should last for a year. “We will implement a true multi-party democracy,” said the new regime, adding that power will be transferred after “the holding of free and fair general elections”. The promise, though repeated, is viewed with skepticism by opponents of Myanmar and international observers.
The unrest in the streets, which lasted for two weeks on Friday, rekindled memories of the violent record of reactions to protests in Myanmar. During the 1988 uprising, more than 3,000 protesters were killed by the country’s security forces in acts against the military regime – the country lived under a dictatorship from 1962 to 2011.
The coup continues to receive strong criticism from 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.
Countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, India and New Zealand called for the need for a speedy restoration of democracy and, in some cases, announced sanctions against the generals who took control of the country. .
US President Joe Biden, whose government views Myanmar’s takeover as a coup, announced a series of sanctions against the military last week, including the freezing of Burmese government assets totaling $ 1 billion. of dollars (5.3 billion reais).
However, there are few historical references of Myanmar military personnel giving in to outside pressure, except for influences from Russia and China. Beijing, as Myanmar’s main regional partner, had taken a more lenient approach, without openly condemning the coup. More recently, however, he joined with other member countries of the UN Security Council in calling for Suu Kyi’s release.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry, for its part, does not mention a military coup or political prisoners in a note published on the subject and only says that it expects “a rapid return of the country. democratic normality and the preservation of the rule of law “.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF MYANMAR
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