Burma: new protests, the UN divided

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Pro-democracy demonstrators continue to march in Burma on Saturday, the day after a new meeting of the UN Security Council divided on the response to the “desperate appeals” of the population.

The junta continues its murderous crackdown: at least 55 people have been killed since the start of the peaceful uprising against the February 1 coup that overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Despite this, the mobilization does not weaken across the country. In Loikaw (center), hundreds of people, including teachers in green and white uniforms, held up signs calling for civil disobedience.

“Our revolution must win”, “If you go to work, you help the dictatorship,” chanted the crowd.

The strike calls are having a significant impact on some sectors of the country’s already very fragile economy, with banks unable to function, hospitals closed and ministerial offices empty.

State media urged officials to return to work, failing which “they will be sacked from March 8”.

In the San Chaug neighborhood of Yangon, the economic capital, police destroyed makeshift barricades erected by protesters and fired tear gas and sound bombs to disperse small gatherings, but these quickly reformed afterwards. his departure.

“In our past revolutions, we have never won (..) This time, we must fight with the younger generation to achieve victory,” activist Maung Saungkha told AFP.


Internet shutdowns, waves of arrests, recourse to lethal force: the putschist generals are more determined than ever to extinguish the wind of rebellion blowing over the country.

A 26-year-old man was shot dead in the neck during a rally in central Mandalay on Friday, and an NGO reported raids on apartment buildings and a hospital on the Thai border.

Two days earlier, at least 38 protesters were killed, with footage showing security forces shooting at crowds and protesters covered in blood shot in the head.

Two 18-year-old victims were buried on Saturday. “There will be no forgiveness for you until the end of the world,” the crowd sang. The day before, the coffins of three others were draped in Aung San Suu Kyi’s party red flag during their funerals.

There is nothing to influence the generals who also take advantage of the divisions of the international community.

The UN Security Council, meeting on Friday, failed to agree on a joint declaration. Negotiations on a text are to continue next week, according to diplomatic sources.

“We are ready to consider international sanctions in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations if the situation continues to deteriorate,” said British Ambassador Barbara Woodward after the meeting, organized on the initiative of the United Kingdom. United.

Coercive measures have been announced by the United States and the European Union, but observers urge to go further with an international embargo on arms deliveries, a decision which requires the agreement of all members of the Council.

“Friendly neighbor”

However, Beijing and Moscow, traditional allies of the Burmese army and exporters of arms in the country, refuse to speak of “coup”, the Chinese press agency evoking at the beginning of February a simple “ministerial reshuffle”.

Our country wants to be “a friendly neighbor,” Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said on Friday, warning against sanctions that would only “worsen tensions or further complicate the situation.”

The other regional neighbors make little voice.

Singapore, first investor in the country, was the only one to raise the tone, evoking through its Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, “a national disgrace”. But the head of diplomacy also estimated that any external pressure on the generals would have little impact.

In this context, it seems unlikely that the call for “unity”, launched by the United Nations envoy for Burma Christine Schraner Burgener, will be heard.

“The hope that (the Burmese) have placed in the United Nations and its members is diminishing,” she lamented, saying she receives hundreds of “desperate appeals” daily from mothers, students and the elderly.

More than 1,700 people have been arrested since the putsch, including around 30 journalists.

Faced with the deterioration of the situation, the Burmese started to flee to take refuge in neighboring India, including three police officers refusing to take part in the repression, according to the Indian police force.

Solicited, the junta, which disputes the result of the November elections won overwhelmingly by the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, did not respond to multiple requests from AFP.