Naypidaw (dpa) – In Myanmar, protests against the military junta and the house arrest of de facto government leader Aung San Suu Kyi continue.
On Tuesday, security forces used brutal violence against protesters in many parts of the country, as eyewitnesses reported on social networks and local media. The police used, among other things, tear gas, anesthetic grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets.
It is said that there were again many injuries, including in the former capital of Rangoon – one of the hotspots of the protests – and in the northern town of Kalay. The photos showed how they were cared for by doctors. Since the coup on February 1, security forces have shot more than 20 people, 18 of them on Sunday alone, the bloodiest day of the resistance to date.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a special online meeting to discuss ways out of the chaos. Indonesia and Malaysia called on the new military leadership to release political prisoners, particularly Suu Kyis. In addition, both countries demanded that former Burma enter into a dialogue to resolve the crisis following the February 1 coup.
“Malaysia calls for the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned political leaders in Myanmar, including Aung San Suu Kyi,” Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said in a speech at the meeting. “We urge Myanmar to think about returning to the negotiating table and ending the political crisis,” he said. Further escalation could lead to foreign intervention in the Asean region, Hussein warned.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi made a similar statement at the end of the talks. The good intentions and willingness of ASEAN member states are pointless if Myanmar doesn’t open the door to them, Marsudi said. Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan warned, “If the situation continues to escalate, it will have serious consequences for Myanmar, the Asean and our entire region.”
Indonesia is the largest country of the ten ASEAN states, which also includes Myanmar. Marsudi had already traveled through the region in recent weeks to discuss a common position with colleagues.
The decision to also invite the new Foreign Minister of Myanmar’s military government, Wunna Maung Lwin, to the ASEAN meeting was widely criticized by social networks. The civil disobedience movement that formed the resistance tweeted, “We understand the importance of dialogue. But the junta has always abused the Asean since 1997. Please stop inviting the terrorist junta to ASEAN rallies immediately. Protesters have repeatedly called for international help against the military in recent weeks.
The generals cited possible irregularities in the November general election, which Suu Kyi had clearly won, as the reason for the coup. The 75-year-old has been under house arrest for a month and has to answer in court for several charges. At mass rallies, protesters repeatedly demand the restoration of civilian government of the former icon of freedom. The country was ruled with an iron fist by the military for nearly 50 years, until tentative democratic reforms were first launched a decade ago.
“No matter how hard they go against us, we will fight. We will find a way to get back into the streets, ”a protester told the portal“ Frontier Myanmar. “This is the only way to show that people no longer want a dictatorship.