Tens of thousands rally against Myanmar coup amid security patrols
NAYPYIDAW (MYANMAR) – Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Myanmar’s major cities, marking a ninth day of anti-coup demonstrations on Sunday, This was followed by a fearful night as patrols were formed by residents and the army restricting laws protecting freedoms.
Engineering students marched through downtown Yangon, by wearing white and carrying placards urging to set former leader Aung San Suu Kyi free.
A convoy on motorbikes and in cars were seen riding through the capital Naypyidaw. In the southeastern coastal town of Dawei, a band played drums in shadows cast by awnings. In Waimaw, in the far northern Kachin state on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, crowds were seen carrying flags and sang revolutionary songs.
Many of the protesters nationwide held up images of Suu Kyi’s face.
Her detention, on charges of importing walkie-talkies, is likely to come to an end on Monday.
More than 384 people have been detained since the coup, the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said, amid mostly nightly arrests.
Activist Wai Hnin Pwint Thon from the UK-based rights group Burma Campaign UK said on Twitter, referring to the army chief, “While the international community is condemning the coup, Min Aung Hlaing is using every tool he has to instigate fears and instabilities.”
Many protesters in Yangon carried signs calling to authorities to “stop kidnapping people at night”.
After the junta announced that it would grant freedom of 23,000 prisoners, concerns have increased about criminal activity since Friday. He said the move was consistent with “establishing a new democratic state with peace, development and discipline” and would “please the public”.
Tin Myint, a resident of Sanchaung township in Yangon, was among the crowds who detained a group of four people, on doubts that they carried out an attack in the neighbourhood.
He said, “We think the military intends to cause violence with these criminals by infiltrating them into peaceful protests.”
Three people in different parts of Yangon said they wanted to see drones hovering above the crowds. Thirty-year-old Htet, who asked to be identified by only one name, “It was flying up and down and filming the crowd chasing after thieves.”