(Yangon) Several thousand Burmese protested in Yangon on Saturday, forming the largest gathering since the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi, despite internet censorship and ongoing arrests.
The latest arrest so far was the arrest of the economic advisor to former Australian leader Sean Tornell, aged 75, who was arrested in his hotel on Saturday.
The professor at Macquarie University in Australia told the BBC: “I am currently in custody and may be accused of something.”
This is the first known arrest of a foreign citizen since the coup.
In Yangon, thousands of people, many of them young people, walked near a university in the economic capital, wearing masks, scarves and red bracelets in the colors of the National League for Democracy party, the Ong Party. San Suu Kyi was arrested on Monday.
Demonstrators chanted, “Down with the military dictatorship,” waving the National League for Democracy flags and cheering three fingers, a gesture of resistance borrowed from American films. hunger Games.
There was no confrontation with the police deployed in large numbers. The protests ended after dark, as protesters vowed to return to the streets on Sunday.
And in Mandalay (center), about 2,000 people demonstrated, according to AFP journalists, immediately.
First contact with the United Nations
Protests come as censorship continues, and the country is seeing major internet shutdowns across the country, according to the watchdog organization NetBlocks.
The Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said that the authorities had ordered “temporarily” to prevent access to mobile phone data, “citing the circulation of false information and the risks to the country’s stability.”
Access to Facebook, the primary communication tool for millions of Burmese, Twitter and Instagram, is also severely restricted.
The goal: to try to silence the protest, which is so present on social networks that the hashtags # WeNeedDemocracy, #HeartheVoiceofMyanmar and #Freedomfromfear have been used millions of times.
Burmese find themselves “in a state of absolute uncertainty”, according to Ming Yue-huh of Amnesty International.
These events remain at the center of the international agenda, and the UN Special Envoy to Burma, Christine Schraner Burgener, had initial contact with the military.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said that it “clearly expressed our position”: an end to the coup and the release of the detainees.
A meeting was held online Friday between Burmese authorities and a number of diplomats and foreign embassies, according to the newspaper. Permani World New LightState-owned.
“The government understands the concerns of the international community,” the newspaper quoted International Cooperation Minister Koo Ku Hlaing as saying at the meeting.
“Drive out demons”
Despite fear of revenge, in a country accustomed to bloody repression as in 1988 and 2007, hundreds of teachers and students demonstrated in Yangon on Friday, and townspeople again banged pots and pans in the evening. “Drive out demons,” the army.
To justify his admission of force, the army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who now concentrates most of the powers, alleged “massive” fraud in the November legislative elections, which the NDP won in large numbers.
In fact, the generals were afraid to see their influence diminish after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, who would have wished to amend the constitution, which is very favorable for the military, analysts say.
According to these experts, her out of political ambition was ousted by Min Aung Hling, who had been shunned abroad since the army’s violations of the Rohingya and neared retirement, out of political ambition.
Aung San Suu Kyi, recently criticized by the international community for her passivity in the Rohingya crisis, remains beloved in her country.
She was charged with violating a vague commercial rule, which is “under house arrest” in the capital, Naypyidaw, “in good health,” according to a spokesperson for the National League for Democracy.