(Reuters) – Opponents of Myanmar’s coup took to the streets again on Saturday with members of ethnic minorities, writers and poets and transport workers among those coming out to demand an end to military rule and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others.
Protests against the Feb. 1 coup that overthrew the elected government of the veteran democracy campaigner Suu Kyi have shown no sign of dying down, with demonstrators sceptical of a military promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.
A young woman protester died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, the first death among opponents of the coup in the demonstrations.
On Saturday, young people in the main city of Yangon carried a wreath and laid flowers at a memorial ceremony for her.
The United States was saddened by the death and condemned the use of force against demonstrators, a State Department spokesman said.
The army says one policeman has died of injuries sustained in a protest.
The demonstrators are demanding the restoration of the elected government, the release of Suu Kyi and others and the scrapping of a 2008 constitution, drawn up under military supervision, that gives the army a major role in politics.
Ke Jung, a youth leader from the Naga minority and an organiser of a Saturday protest by minorities in Yangon, said the protesters were also demanding a federal system.
While some minority parties doubted Suu Kyi’s commitment to the cause of federalism, now was the time for all opponents of the military to unite, he said.
“We must win this fight. We stand together with the people. We will fight until the end of dictatorship,” he told Reuters.
Myanmar has experienced insurgencies by ethnic minority factions since shortly after its independence from Britain in 1948 and the army has long proclaimed itself the only institution capable of preserving national unity.
Suu Kyi, 75, like the top generals, is a member of the majority Burman community.
Her government promoted a peace process with insurgent groups but she faced a storm of international criticism over the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority after more than 700,000 fled a deadly 2017 army crackdown.
The army seized back power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) swept, detaining her and others. The electoral commission had dismissed the allegations of fraud. Read More