Burmese back in the streets, arrests continue

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Mobilization against the coup continues in Burma on Friday, a holiday when thousands of prisoners were released following a custom in the country, while the army is increasing the arrests of political leaders and activists.

• Read also: Burma: mobilization continues against coup, Biden announces sanctions

• Read also: Jade, banks, tourism: the billions of dollars of the Burmese army

Washington’s announcement of new sanctions against the putschist generals does not seem to stop the junta, which is stepping up the arrests.

241 people have been in detention since the coup d’état of 1er February which overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to an NGO helping political prisoners. Among them, local officials, deputies, members of the electoral commission, activists.

The authorities have also drafted a very liberticidal cybersecurity bill.

The fear of retaliation is on everyone’s mind. On Tuesday, police fired at demonstrators, injuring several people, two of them seriously. A young woman, who was shot in the head, is in critical condition.

Despite this, the Burmese continued to take to the streets on Friday to demand the release of those detained, the end of the dictatorship and the abolition of the 2008 Constitution, which is very favorable to the army.

In Yangon, the economic capital, professional football players and supporters marched, wearing a red jersey in the colors of the National League for Democracy (LND), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. “Reject the dictatorship! », Could we read on their banner.

“Don’t go to work! “

“Don’t go to work! “,” Our revolt must succeed! Chanted hundreds of teachers in Miek (south), while in the administrative capital, Naypyidaw, demonstrators on two-wheeled vehicles honked their horns and made the three-fingered salute which is a sign of resistance.

Tens of thousands of Burmese have taken to the streets in the past seven days, a protest not seen since 2007.

Police, air traffic controllers, teachers, health professionals, a large number of civil servants have also gone on strike.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlain warned them Thursday evening, ordering them to return to work. “Incited by unscrupulous people, some members of the civil service have not fulfilled their duties,” the general wrote in a statement, warning that “effective action will be taken.”

Crowds were smaller, however, since the ban on gatherings and the curfew decreed earlier this week.

At the same time, 23,324 prisoners, including 55 foreigners, will be released, others will see their sentences reduced, the state-owned Global New Light Of Myanmar newspaper reported on Friday. No details were provided on the profile of the detainees released, but these mass amnesties are frequent in Burma on public holidays.

Events remained at the heart of the international agenda.

Washington detailed its new sanctions, announcing to block all assets and transactions in the United States of ten military officials or former military, held responsible for the coup. In addition to General Hlaing, these measures target other high-ranking officials such as the Minister of Defense, Mya Tun Oo.

They warned that new coercive measures could be put in place if the military does not surrender power.

The United Kingdom and the European Union have also brandished the threat of sanctions.

Meeting at the UN

The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Burma on Friday. The position of Beijing and Moscow, traditional supporters of the Burmese army at the United Nations, will be closely scrutinized.

Internet giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, have also reacted, denouncing the cybersecurity bill that would allow the military to ban websites and force social networks to transmit metadata. ‘users.

Facebook also said it would reduce the visibility of content managed by the Burmese military, claiming that it “continued to spread false information” after taking power.

The junta challenges the regularity of the legislative elections in November, won overwhelmingly by the NLD. In reality, the generals feared that their influence would diminish after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, who might have wanted to change the Constitution.

Very recently criticized by the international community for her passivity during the abuses against the Rohingyas, the 75-year-old former leader, under house arrest for 15 years for her opposition to the junta, remains adored in her country.

Indicted for having illegally imported six walkie-talkies, she would be “in good health” under house arrest in Naypyidaw, according to her party.

Burma has already lived under the yoke of the military for almost 50 years since its independence in 1948 with bloody repressions during the last popular uprisings of 1988 and 2007.

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