YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Protesters in Myanmar’s largest city went out on Monday night for their first mass protests in violation of the curfew at 8pm, seeking to show support for about 200 students captured by security forces in a small area of one neighborhood.
Students and other civilians had previously taken part in one of the country’s numerous daily protests against the military’s takeover last month, which toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.
The military government has also limited media coverage of the crisis. He announced that the licenses of five local media outlets ̵
“These media companies no longer have the right to broadcast or write or provide information using any media platform or using any media technology,” the state-run MRTV television program said.
All five offered broad coverage of the protests, often with online steam videos. Myanmar’s offices were now attacked by authorities on Monday before the measure was announced. The government has detained dozens of journalists after the coup, including a reporter for Myanmar Now and Thein Zaw of the Associated Press, both have been charged under public order law, which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.
The night’s street protests began after police cordoned off part of Yangon’s Sanchaung neighborhood and were believed to be conducting door-to-door searches for security forces fleeing to seek refuge in the homes of sympathetic strangers.
News of their plight spread quickly on social media, and people poured into the streets of neighborhoods across the city to show solidarity and hope to put some pressure on the persecuted protesters. In some streets, they built makeshift barricades with whatever they had on hand.
In the Insein district, they spread out on road junctions, singing songs, chanting pro-democracy slogans and pushing objects together.
Diplomatic missions in the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union have issued statements calling on security forces to allow trapped people to return home safely. Although everyone has sharply criticized the February 1 coup and police violence, it is unusual for such diplomatic statements to be issued in connection with a specific, ongoing incident.
“There is heightened tension caused by security forces surrounding the Kyun Taw Road in Sanchaung City, Yangon. We call on these security forces to withdraw and allow people to return home safely, “the US embassy said in a statement.
As of midnight in Myanmar, there were no reports of clashes between police and protesters, although security forces chased crowds, harassed residents looking out of windows and fired stunning grenades. They also had some reports of rubber bullet injuries.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following the events in the Sanchaung district, where “many of the sworn are women who marched peacefully in honor of International Women’s Day,” said UN spokesman Stefan Dujarric.
“He calls for maximum restraint and insists on the safe release of all without violence or arrest,” Dujarric said, and for respect for the rights to freedom of assembly and the expression of peaceful demonstrators expressing “their hopes and wishes for the future of their country.” ”Said Duzharik.
Guterres also called the occupation of a number of public hospitals in Myanmar by security forces “completely unacceptable,” a UN spokesman said.
Night hours are becoming increasingly dangerous in Myanmar. Police and army units routinely spread through neighborhoods, firing at random to intimidate residents and disturbing their sleep, and making targeted arrests.
Security forces shot and killed two people in northern Myanmar during the day, local media reported.
The online newspaper Irrawaddy reported that the victims were shot in the head during protests against the coup in Miitkina in the state of Kachin. A graphic video on social media shows the protesters withdrawing from tear gas, responding with stones and then fleeing after an automatic shooting.
Demonstrators hastily carried away the wounded, including an apparent death, a man with a severe head wound. Later, a second body was seen on a stretcher, its head covered with cloth.
Another shooting death occurred in Piapon, a city about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Yangon.
To date, the government’s violent repression has killed more than 50 protesters. At least 18 people were fatally shot Wednesday, February 28th and 38th, according to the UN Office for Human Rights.
Security forces also restrained protesters elsewhere on Monday, firing tear gas to break up a crowd of about 1,000 people demonstrating in Piinmana, a satellite town in the capital, Naipauta. Protesters deployed fire extinguishers to create a smokescreen as they fled the authorities.
Thousands of protesters marching in Mandalay, the city’s second-largest city, dispersed amid fears that soldiers and police planned to disrupt their demonstration by force.
Meanwhile, armed forces from one of Myanmar’s ethnic groups have been deployed to protect those involved in the fight against the coup following the brutal repression by the junta.
Karen’s national police force arrived shortly after dawn to escort about 2,000 protesters near Myitta in the Tanintharyi region of southeastern Myanmar. They carried a range of firearms, including machine guns, as they marched in front of the column on dusty country roads.
The police force in Karen is under the control of the Karen National Union, one of many ethnic organizations that have been fighting for more autonomy from the central government for decades. The KNU uses military means both politically and through its armed wing to achieve its goals.
Large-scale protests have taken place daily in many cities since Myanmar took power, and security forces have responded with increasing use of deadly force and mass arrests.
On Sunday, police occupied hospitals and universities and said they had arrested hundreds of people involved in protests against the military takeover.