Thursday, April 15

Burma’s streets once again defy the military junta

Burmese protesters with makeshift shields.

Burmese protesters with makeshift shields.

Burmese took to the streets again this Saturday for protest against the coup despite the repression, which has left at least 54 dead, and the lack of response from the UN Security Council.

In Naipyidó, the capital, protesters held signs reading “We do not accept the military coup” with a picture of broken weapons, and they stepped on the thrown photos of the junta’s coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing.

According to local media Myanmar Now, the security forces they used tear gas against those attending a protest in Yangon, the country’s former capital and most populous city, while marches were also organized in Lashio, in the northwestern Shan State.

Peaceful protesters have set themselves the target of not allowing the Army to control the country and evict it from power, while on social networks the hashtag # R2P, acronym for “responsibility to protect”, has become viral.

This United Nations principle is a global political commitment to avoid serious human rights violations, as war crimes and against humanity, with the application of measures such as sanctions.

The use of force in this framework is the prerogative of the UN Security Council, which met yesterday in New York without taking any decision and which has avoided condemning the military coup, mainly due to the veto power of China and Russia.

The UN special envoy for Burma, Christine Schraner Burgener, appeared before the Council yesterday and called for strength and speed to “stop the violence and restore democratic institutions in Burma.”

The UN envoy, who assured that about 50 “innocent and peaceful protesters” have died so far, insisted that there are confirmed reports that many of these deaths have been caused by royal weaponry, which is considered a violation of human rights. “The use of lethal force against peaceful protesters clearly contravenes international human rights law,” said the envoy, whose written speech was released by the UN.

In this sense, he added that there are recorded videos of military snipers in their positions targeting unarmed protesters, as well as others showing how military and police shoot indiscriminately to groups of people in different parts of the country.

Since the military coup on February 1, at least 1,522 people have been detained, of which 1,215 remain under arrest, including politicians, activists, journalists and monks, according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Those detained include the de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and several members of her cabinet, most of whom are held incommunicado.

The protesters demand that the Army, which ruled the country with an iron fist continuously between 1962 and 2011, allow the return to democracy and recognize the results of the elections last November, in which the National League for Democracy swept away (LND) by Suu Kyi, who already won with a large majority in 2015.

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