Times of Middle East

Myanmar protests proceed as UN urged to listen to ‘desperate pleas’

Security forces in Myanmar used tear fuel and stun grenades to disperse protesters within the business hub of Yangon on Saturday, simply hours after a United Nations envoy known as for the Security Council to listen to the nation’s “desperate pleas” and take fast motion to revive democracy.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since a February 1 coup eliminated the democratically-elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering mass protests in cities throughout the nation calling for the civilian administration’s restoration.

Demonstrators have been met with an more and more brutal crackdown with the dying toll standing at greater than 50 because the coup, in accordance with the UN.

Protesters have known as for the discharge of Aung San Suu Kyi and respect for November’s election, which her get together received in a landslide, however which the military rejected.

“Our revolution must win,” chanted protesters in Loikaw on Saturday, who included civil servants equivalent to academics of their inexperienced and white uniforms.

The nation’s very important sectors have been crippled by a unbroken “civil disobedience movement” – a marketing campaign urging civil servants to boycott working beneath a navy authorities.

The impression has been felt at each stage of the nationwide infrastructure, with shuttered hospitals, empty ministry workplaces and banks unable to function.

On Saturday, state-run media introduced that if civil servants continued to boycott work, “they will be fired” with fast impact from March 8.

But protesters in Myanmar’s business hub of Yangon continued to defy authorities, gathering particularly in San Chaung – a once-buzzing township with cafes, eating places and bars that has emerged as a hotspot for unrest.

Security forces fired tear fuel and stun grenades within the morning, scattering protesters, and eliminated their makeshift barricades with bulldozers.

Activist Maung Saungkha mentioned the motion would persist – at the same time as safety forces continued to step up their enforcement techniques – as many bear in mind the repression beneath the earlier navy authorities.

“In our past revolutions, we never won … this time we must fight to win,” he informed AFP information company.

“We must fight together with the younger generation to get victory.”

The military says it has been restrained in stopping the protests, however has mentioned it won’t enable them to threaten stability.

Separately on Saturday, a number of hundred individuals gathered in Sydney, Australia, to protest towards the coup, singing and holding up three fingers, a salute that has come to symbolise solidarity and resistance throughout Myanmar.

“We would like to urge the Australian government to work closely with the US, UK and EU governments and take strong action against these Myanmar military dictators,” mentioned protest organiser Thein Moe Win.

Authorities in Myanmar have requested India to return eight policemen who sought refuge throughout the border to keep away from taking orders from the navy, an official in northeast India mentioned on Saturday.

India’s international ministry responded to a request for remark from Reuters information company by referring to a press release given at a media briefing on Friday which mentioned the ministry was nonetheless “ascertaining the facts”.

‘Repression must stop’

The United Nations Security Council on Friday heard from UN particular envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, who warned towards any strikes to grant legitimacy to the navy authorities.

“The hope they have placed in the United Nations and its membership is waning and I have heard directly the desperate pleas – from mothers, students and the elderly,” she mentioned.

“Your unity is needed more than ever on Myanmar … The repression must stop.”

But diplomats mentioned the Security Council was unlikely to approve any worldwide measures towards the navy authorities, and the session ended with none assertion.

Condemnation towards Myanmar’s navy has largely been unanimous, however veto-wielding China continues to be considered a key impediment in getting consensus.

China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, mentioned his nation didn’t wish to see instability in Myanmar.

But “the messages and measures of the international community should be conducive for the parties in Myanmar to bridge differences and resolve problems”, he informed reporters.

The United States and another Western international locations have imposed restricted sanctions on the navy authorities and the unbiased UN human rights investigator on Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, has known as for a world arms embargo and focused financial sanctions.

The military took energy over allegations of fraud in final yr’s election which had been dismissed by the electoral fee. It has promised to carry a brand new election at an unspecified date.

That plan is rejected by protesters and by a gaggle representing lawmakers elected on the final election that has begun to concern statements within the identify of a rival civilian administration.

On Friday, it listed 4 calls for – the top of the navy authorities, the discharge of the detainees, democracy and the abolition of the 2008 structure which left vital political illustration and management within the fingers of the navy.

Armed ethnic teams

Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok in neighbouring Thailand, mentioned some armed ethnic teams in Myanmar have come out in assist of protesters, and will pose a risk to the military’s try and take energy.

“One place the place safety forces haven’t used power to crack down on protesters was within the northern Shan state within the city of Lashio the place a really massive crowd got here out at about 9am.

“Yesterday the TNLA, which is an insurgent group largely representing an ethnic minority in that area, came out close to the city and made it very clear that they were supporting the protesters.”

“We’ve seen this in other places where soldiers from the Karenni ethnic group have come out in support of the protesters,” Cheng mentioned.

Maung Zarni, a Burmese human rights activist based mostly in London, informed Al Jazeera the involvement of those teams displays a well-liked want to have some form of safety from the navy.

“With respect to these ethnic organisations, there is a radical reversal on the majority of the Burmese public that have been brainwashed over decades to view these as insurgents,” he mentioned.

“So now the reversal is that the public views the national armed forces … as simply terrorists and insurgents, and want to have a federated army of different armed ethnic organisations.”

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