Sunday, 09 May, 2021


PH seeks release of Suu Kyi

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Patty Aguilar | 03 March, 2021, 14:13

Gruesome images widely shared on social media showed people running for cover as victims lay bleeding on the ground. One man died after being brought to a hospital with a bullet in the chest, said a doctor who asked not to be identified.

"We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters", Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights office, said.

Protesters are marching in Myanmar in defiance of a crackdown by security forces as calls grow for a more united global response in the aftermath of the worst violence against demonstrators since a coup one month ago. The demonstrators demand that the coup leaders yield power and release ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with President Win Myint and the members of Suu Kyi's administration.

Coup leader and commander of the armed forces Gen. Min Aung Hlaing backed the police's handling of the protests, saying they used "minimum force", according to state media Global New Light of Myanmar.

In the interview with BBC's Asia business correspondent Karishma Vaswani on Tuesday, Mr Lee said the situation in Myanmar was a throwback to 1988, when a cocktail of bloody riots, military power and martial law became untenable for the country's leaders, who eventually announced a seven-step roadmap to democracy in 2003. A group called the Whitecoat Alliance of medics said more than 50 medical staff had been arrested.

Gunfire was reported nearly as soon the protests began on Sunday morning in Yangon, as police also fired tear gas and water cannon while trying to clear the streets.

Three people were killed at Dawei in the south, politician Kyaw Min Htike told Reuters from the town. Zaw and a handful of other journalists were arrested Saturday morning in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, the AP reported.

The military has not commented on Sunday's violence.

"I was crying a little bit, but [the gas] didn't affect me too badly because I was far away", he said, adding that he and his friends were protesting "for freedom" and for the future of his career. The Army says one policeman has died in the unrest. People should not face violence for expressing dissent against the military coup.

Most of the police in Yangon used non-lethal means to disperse protesters as they fired tear gas and water cannons.

The Canadian Embassy said it was appalled.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a neighbour, held a teleconference meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday to seek a consensus on helpful measures.

State-run MRTV television said more than 470 people had been arrested on Saturday when police launched the nationwide crackdown.

More than 200 medical professionals and students were among those arrested on Sunday but have since been released, according to the UN.

"In some ways, ASEAN allowed the military to get away with what happened with the Rohingya crisis and I think that they are faced with something more risky", said Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate at the Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

"We remain with conviction that the solution to the political deadlock in Myanmar is a domestic-led process", he said. Reuters reports that one day earlier, he posted a question on Facebook: How many dead bodies before the United Nations takes action?

It gave no reason, but some diplomats have been among civil servants to join a Civil Disobedience Movement that has paralyzed a swathe of official business.

While some Western countries have imposed limited sanctions, the generals have traditionally shrugged off diplomatic pressure.

The junta dismissed the old commission's members and appointed new ones, who annulled the election results on Friday.

In February, the ruling generals rejected the landslide victory of Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party in a November poll, claiming fraud and pledging to hold fresh elections in a year.

Suu Kyi, 75, who spent almost 15 years under house arrest, faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols.

Deposed lawmakers from her party on Monday branded the junta a "terrorist group".

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