Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Yangon on Thursday as the country celebrates its fifth month since the coup.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Myanmar’s military to now release Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, a UN spokesman said, a day after thousands of others detainees were released five months after the coup.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power on February 1 and overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
“We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all detainees arbitrarily, and this includes President Win Myint and State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi,” Guterres associate spokesman Eri Kaneko said on Thursday.
Myanmar released more than 2,000 detainees on Wednesday, including journalists and others who the military said had been arrested on charges of incitement to participate in protests, local media reported.
Many of the army’s opponents have been arrested and some convicted under a law that criminalizes comments that can cause fear or spread false news. Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial for a similar crime, among others, and remains in custody.
“We remain deeply concerned about the continuing violence and intimidation, including arbitrary detentions, by security forces,” Kaneko said.
Burning of the army uniform
On the occasion of the fifth month since the coup, Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the country’s largest city, Yangon, on Thursday, setting fire to army uniforms and chanting calls for democracy.
The protest was one of the largest in Yangon in recent weeks, although anti-army demonstrations are held daily in many parts of the Southeast Asian country.
“What do we want? Democracy! Democracy! ”The protesters sang as they ran through the streets with colorful flares of smoke.
“For the people! For the people, “they shouted, according to the video released by Reuters.
– Ro Nay San Lwin (@nslwin) July 1, 2021
They set an army uniform on fire before dispersing.
Reuters was unable to immediately contact a military spokesman for comment.
Myanmar’s army has struggled to impose its authority since the coup. It has faced protests, strikes that have paralyzed the public and private sectors and a resurgence of conflicts in border areas.
Military authorities have described their opponents as terrorists. He released more than 2,000 prisoners on Wednesday, most of them detained since the coup.
The activist group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners said more than 6,400 people have been arrested since the coup. He put the death toll at more than 880, a number the military said is exaggerated.
The army has said its takeover was in line with the constitution. He took power alleging fraud in a November election swept away by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. The former election commission had dismissed his allegations.
In the meantime, arrested American journalist Daniel Fenster he appeared to have lost weight, but said he was fine on Thursday as his case for incitement charges was adjourned in a Myanmar court until July 15, his lawyer said.
Fenster, 37, was arrested at the main international airport in May as he prepared to leave the country.
Phil Robertson, Asian deputy director of Human Rights Watch, said Fenster’s continued detention was “outrageous and unacceptable” and should be released.
“Independent notification of what is happening on the ground in Myanmar should not be considered a crime,” it said in a statement.