Ethnic minorities in Myanmar join hands to protest against coup
YANGON (MYANMAR) – Setting aside differences, members of various ethnic groups in Myanmar marched on Saturday in what was seen as a colourful show of protest against the military coup and the ousting of the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ever since the military took over power on February 1, there have been protests across the nation and demonstrators are sceptical of the junta’s promise to hold elections and hand over power to the elected government.,
While police tried to disperse protesters in Naypyitaw on Friday, a young woman protester was fatally shot in the head. It is the first death of an opponent of the coup in protest rallies.
Young people carried a wreath and laid flowers at a memorial for the woman on Saturday in Yangon.
A State Department spokesman said the US was saddened by the death of the protester and slammed the use of force against agitators.
The army said one policeman died of injuries sustained in a protest.
Protesters are seeking the release of Suu Kyi, the restoration of the elected government and the scrapping of a constitution drawn up by the military in 2008, giving the army a major role in politics.
Ke Jung, who hails from the Naga minority and is an organiser of the Saturday protest in Yangon, said protesters were also seeking a federal system.
“We can’t form a federal country under dictatorship. We can’t accept the junta,” he said.
Shortly after it gained independence from Britain in 1948, the country has been experiencing insurgencies led by ethnic minorities and the army has long proclaimed itself to be the sole custodian of national unity.
Suu Kyi, 75, belongs to the Burman community, who form the majority.