Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of several towns in Myanmar on Sunday (7) against the military junta that took power in the country. The protests come despite heavy police repression and nightly raids, which have killed a member of the arrested leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, a party.
In Bagan, in the center of the country, near a famous archaeological site, detonations were heard.
“An 18-year-old was shot in the jaw,” rescuer Ko Ko told AFP news agency. Local media reported “at least five people injured.”
In Rangoon, police fired shots to disperse demonstrators who shouted, “Let’s get out the dictator!”, Referring to the head of the military junta, Min Aung Hlaing.
During the night, the police and the army carried out operations in the economic capital of Burma against the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Suu Kyi, overthrown on February 1 and kept in secret.
“We don’t know how many people were arrested,” said Soe Win, a party official.
A local NLD chief, Khin Maung Latt, 58, has died. “He was beaten and taken from his home. He apparently did not survive the harsh interrogations to which he was subjected,” said Tun Kyi, a former political prisoner.
Another target was a party lawyer, but when they couldn’t find him, the security forces “tortured” his brother “because there was no one to arrest,” according to a former lawmaker.
State media have warned MPs who fail to recognize the legitimacy of the coup – and who have created a commission to represent the civilian government – saying they are committing “high treason”, a crime that can lead to the death penalty or 22 years imprisonment.
State media also said the striking officials “will be sacked from March 8”. The strikes are having a major impact on the country’s already fragile economy, with banks unable to function, hospitals closed and ministerial offices empty.
The pro-democracy movement called for a mass mobilization this Sunday and Monday (8).
“If we call for civil disobedience and to strike without taking to the streets, it is not enough. We must keep our fight at the highest level (…) We are ready to die”, Maung Saungkha, the one of the leaders of the demonstration, told AFP.
More than 50 people have died since the start of the peaceful uprising against the February 1 coup.
In the images which circulated on the network, we see the security forces shooting at the crowd and removing the bodies of the demonstrators.
The Union, Solidarity and Development Party (PUSD), supported by the army, is participating in the attacks on the demonstrators.
Members of the PUSD killed a local NLD representative and a 17-year-old boy on Friday (5), according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.
On Saturday, security forces used deadly ammunition against protesters, according to the Burmese NGO. The official press denies that the police and the army are linked to the deaths.
From local officials, politicians, journalists, activists to artists, hundreds of people have been arrested since February 1.
Those detained in Rangoon are often found in Insein prison, where many political prisoners served sentences in previous dictatorships.
Faced with the deterioration of the situation, some Burmese are fleeing the country.
About fifty, including eight police officers who refused to participate in the crackdown, arrived in India.
Myanmar demanded that the neighboring country repatriate the eight police officers “to preserve good relations between the two countries”, in a letter to which the AFP news agency had access.
About 100 Burmese are still at the border, hoping that they will be allowed to enter the country.
The generals ignore the protests of the international community, divided on how to react.
The United States and the European Union have announced coercive measures, but some observers have called for an international arms embargo, a move that requires the agreement of all members of the UN Security Council (United Nations ).
China and Russia, traditional allies of the Burmese army and exporters of arms to the country, refuse to speak of a “coup”.
In Bangkok, thousands of Burmese workers in Thailand demonstrated on Sunday in front of the UN representation, asking the international community to act more firmly.