Yangon: Growing repression is not stopping the resistance
by Francis Khoo Thwe

Tanks and armoured vehicles are patrolling the main streets. Today, engineering and technology students rallied north of Yangon. Soldiers drag to work people involved in civil disobedience. The human rights provisions of Myanmar’s constitution have been suspended. Soldiers can arrest and search without a warrant, and keep people in prison for more than 48 hours. Aung San Suu Kyi's trial postponed for two days.


Yangon (AsiaNews) – The military junta that took over on 1 February is moving towards greater repression; however, despite tighter measures, resistance to the coup d'état has not stopped.

Today, tanks and armoured vehicles patrolled the main streets in Yangon. After several policemen went over to protesters, soldiers replaced police to enforce law and order.

Today, Aung San Suu Kyi's defence lawyer said that her trial was adjourned for three days until Wednesday.

The leader of the pro-democracy movement has been under house arrest since the first day of the coup and is accused of illegally importing some walkie-talkies.

Despite the crackdown, engineering and technology students rallied north of Yangon today to protest. TV stations filmed soldiers dragging protesting railway staff and bank employees to work.

Yesterday, for the ninth consecutive day, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in various cities across the country, including the capital Naypyidaw, Yangon, Sittwe and Myitkyina. Myitkyina is the capital of Kachin State, near the Chinese border.

Last night, security forces fired on protesters. It is not clear whether rubber bullets or deadly bullets were used. Some journalists – who filmed the incident – were arrested, but released today.

Two days ago, the military junta suspended Articles 5, 7 and 8 of the 2008 constitution, which protect basic human rights of the population.

Because of this, the military can now arrest without warrant, enter houses and search without a court order, get internet providers to provide information, and place people under arrest for more than 48 hours. Meanwhile, the internet has been shut down almost everywhere.

The junta has also issued arrest warrants for seven pro-democracy figures, including Min Ko Naing, a hero of the 1988 generation (student movement), and Myo Yan Naung Thein, a former political prisoner.

The warrants require people to help the police find the fugitives. Anyone who helps the latter will be arrested.

So far, at least 400 people have been arrested: political leaders, pro-democracy activists, doctors, public sector employees, students, etc.

According to various reports, three days ago the junta released criminals from prison in order to create unrest in the cities.

In Yangon, groups of these prisoners set fires in several streets around Tharkayta and allegedly poisoned the water in the Nga Moe Yeik district.

Now in each neighbourhood, barricades have been set up and groups of volunteers have been established to stop the criminals on the loose.

UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews said that the military leaders will be held accountable for the violence against the population.

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