Several tens of thousands of Burmese took to the streets on Wednesday for the fifth day in a row, the day after a nightly army raid on the party headquarters of Aung San Suu Kyi, an action that shows the generals’ determination putschists in the face of calls to restore democracy.
Processions totaling several tens of thousands of people, according to various estimates, marched through the center of Yangon, the economic capital of the country, including one in front of the Chinese embassy, a country considered favorable to the generals, while the repression crossed a new course on Tuesday.
“We will do everything to reject the military government,” Kyaw Kyaw, a hotel worker, told AFP.
“We do not want to remain under the dictatorship. I am also a little afraid after the repression yesterday,” added Khin Nyein Wai, student.
A demonstration bringing together several thousand people was also underway in Naypyidaw, the administrative capital of Burma, in the center of the country.
In Kayah state, in the east of the country, police joined the protest, according to local media.
The UN on Tuesday condemned the “disproportionate” and “unacceptable” use of force by the military, which last week carried out a coup.
– Woman shot and wounded –
The UN Special Rapporteur for Burma, Tom Andrews, condemned the use of force, and said police shot and wounded a young woman in Naypyidaw. The images of this action were widely shared on social networks.
“They can shoot a young woman, but they cannot steal the hope and determination of a people,” the human rights envoy wrote on Wednesday. “The world stands in solidarity with the demonstrators in Burma”.
According to a doctor at Naypyidaw hospital, the young woman, Mya Thwe Thwe Khine, hit in the head, is “in intensive care because she needs help to breathe and remains unconscious” Wednesday morning.
Another doctor estimated Tuesday that the soldiers had fired live ammunition, judging by the injuries sustained by two young men hospitalized in critical condition.
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In Mandalay (center), the country’s second city, police used tear gas against protesters waving National League for Democracy (LND) flags.
According to the NLD, the soldiers carried out a raid on Tuesday evening against the training premises in Rangoon.
“The military dictator took over and destroyed the LND headquarters at around 9:30 p.m.” (3:00 p.m. GMT), the party said on its Facebook page, while demonstrations were taking place in several cities, suppressed with water cannons and rubber bullets.
LND member Soe Win told AFP on Wednesday that a guard saw the raid carried out by the security forces via a remote CCTV system, but was unable to intervene because curfew.
In the morning, they found forced locks, missing computer hardware, electrical wiring and severed server cables. Bank documents had disappeared from a safe. According to Soe Win, the party plans to file a complaint with the police.
Authorities have banned gatherings of more than five people in Rangoon, Napypidaw and other towns since Monday evening. A curfew was declared and the demonstrators dispersed in the early evening.
In recent days, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have marched across the country, demanding the release of those detained, the end of the dictatorship and the abolition of the 2008 constitution, which is very favorable to the army.
Since the coup on February 1, the number of people arrested has reached 190 on Wednesday, according to an NGO helping political prisoners.
This wind of protest is unprecedented since the popular uprising of 2007, the “Saffron Revolution” led by the monks and violently suppressed by the military.
The risk of repression is real in the country, which has already lived for almost 50 years under the yoke of the military since its independence in 1948.
– Suu Kyi “in good health” –
The February 1 coup put an end to a brief decade-long democratic parenthesis.
The army disputes the regularity of the legislative elections of November, won overwhelmingly by the LND. But international observers did not notice any major problems during the poll.
In reality, the generals feared that their influence would diminish after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, who might have wanted to change the Constitution.
Very recently criticized by the international community for her passivity during the abuses against Rohingya Muslims, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, under house arrest for 15 years for her opposition to the junta, remains adored in her country.
The former leader would be “in good health“, under house arrest in Naypyidaw, according to her party.
The coup was condemned by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and many other countries.
New Zealand has announced the suspension of its high-level military and political contacts with Burma, becoming the first country to decide on junta isolation.
The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on these events on Friday. The United Nations Security Council has called for the release of the detainees.
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