05/24/2021, 13.32
MYANMAR
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Aung San Suu Kyi reappears in person, while Catholic church is bombed

by Francis Khoo Thwe

The pro-democracy leader appeared in person at a court hearing for the first since her arrest during the 1 February coup. One of her lawyers said that she is in good health. Bombing in Kayan Thaya kills four civilians. Violent clashes occur in Kayah State. Card Bo calls for peace to build a democratic state.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in person today at a court hearing. This is the first time she was seen in public since her arrest by the military during the 1 February coup, one of her lawyers told Reuters.

The iconic leader of the National League for Democracy (LND) spoke for about 30 minutes with her legal team. This is the first face-to-face meeting she has had with her lawyers; hitherto, she was able to speak to them and the court only via video link.

According to lawyer Thae Maung, Suu Kyi is in good health. During the exchange, she told him that the NLD would “exist as long as the people exist” .

On Saturday, General Min Aung Hlaing Military, chairman of the State Administration Council (the ruling junta), mentioned the pro-democracy leader's court hearing in an interview broadcast by a Hong Kong TV channel.

Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burmese independence hero General Aung San, is accused of violating state secrets and possessing walkie-talkie radios brought in from abroad illegally.

She is also one of nearly 4,300 people placed under arrest for opposing the coup.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the military has killed so far 818 people during protests.

The latest bloodshed occurred this morning, when the military (Tatmadaw) bombed a Catholic Church in Kayan Thaya, a village in Kayah State. The attack left four people dead.

The place of worship had given shelter to civilians fleeing clashes between the military and local armed groups.

The Irrawaddy news website reported that the Karenni People's Defence Forces and the Karenni Army killed 40 soldiers overnight.

Meanwhile, the crackdown against  the junta’s opponents is increasing. In addition to killings, arrests and convictions, the generals are trying to weaken the popular resistance with other forms of intimidation.

A leader of the teachers’ union said that more than 125,000 teachers, almost one third of all teachers, were suspended last Saturday for joining the civil disobedience movement.

As the prospect of civil war looms, Card Charles Cardinal Bo issued a statement calling for disputes to be settled peacefully.

In his homily for Pentecost, the Archbishop of Yangon stressed that democracy cannot be born of violence.  Only through peace and speaking the same language can a democratic state be built.

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