Protests in Myanmar

9 February 2021.

Tens of thousands of people joined a third day of nationwide demonstrations on Monday (Feb 8) against the military coup a week ago. Protesters called for campaign of civil disobedience. Health workers are leading this campaign and said that they would not work under a military regime. Protests are getting louder and people want to completely abolish this military regime. Police in the capital Naypyidaw fired brief bursts of a water cannon against a group of the thousands of protesters.

In another display of protests, people banged at nights pots and pans, a practice traditionally associated with driving out evil spirits.

In the southeastern city of Dawei and in the Kachin state capital in the far north, massive crowds gathered shouting slogans against military rule. Diverse ethnic groups, including those who have been critical of Aung San Suu Kyi and accused her government of neglecting minorities, joined in the protests. In Yangon, saffron-robed monks marched along with with workers and students.

Weekend protests were the biggest since the “Saffron Revolution” led by Buddhist monks in 2007 that helped democratic reforms in Myanmar.

Unlike the protests in 1988 and 2007, the crackdowns are not severe yet. A convoy of military trucks passing into Yangon late on Sunday may indicate a more violent crackdown to come.

On Monday (Feb 8), martial law was declared in the city of Mandalay, covering seven townships. The orders ban gathering in groups of more than five. A curfew was imposed from 8pm until 4am.

US President Joe Biden called for the generals to relinquish power. Pope Francis on Monday called for the prompt release of imprisoned political leaders. South East Asian lawmakers have also urged Myanmar’s military to respect the people’s rights to protest.

On 6 February, the military ordered telecommunications companies to fully shut down internet and 4G services. On 5 February, telecommunications companies were ordered to block access to Twitter and Instagram. Access to Facebook was blocked until 7 February.

Myanmar’s military arrested Win Htein, a key aide to Aung San Suu Kyi, while they put Aung on house arrest. Win Htein is in the custody of the Naypyidaw police.

Channel News Asia reported.