Myanmar coup: Thousands rally against military build up


Thousands of anti-coup protesters took to the streets of Myanmar on Wednesday in even larger demonstrations than seen in previous days.

Demonstrators rallied in Yangon, the nation’s biggest city, with protesters blockading roads with vehicles to stop troops from moving through the area.

Fears the protests could turn violent

UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews warned that reports of soldiers being brought into Yangon could lead to a largely violent situation.

UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews warned that reports of soldiers being brought into Yangon could lead to a largely violent situation.

“I fear that Wednesday has the potential for violence on a greater scale in Myanmar than we have seen since the illegal takeover of the government on February 1,” Andrews said in a statement.

“In the past, such troop movements preceded killings, disappearances, and detentions on a mass scale,” he added.

The UN Special Envoy on Myanmar echoed those concerns. “We also should not forget that we have around 21 ethnic armed organizations in the country who are against this coup. So the potential for violence is very high… this could end in a very severe situation,” Christine Schraner Burgener told DW.

Activist Phyu Phyu Thaw told DW she was “not afraid” of the consequences of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign.

“We have been under military control for years. This time we have to finish them. We want true democracy. We no longer want the military ruling our country.”

Internet blackouts continue

Organizers took to social media to call for protests, despite ongoing internet blackouts. “Let’s march en masse. Let’s show our force against the coup government that has destroyed the future of youth and our country,” Kyi Toe, a spokesman for detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party wrote on his Facebook page late Tuesday.

The military additionally ordered an internet blackout for the third night in a row on Tuesday, almost entirely blocking online access from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. local time. It has also prepared a draft law that would cirminalize many online activities.

There were also unconfirmed local reports that trucks and private cars had blocked trade roads between China and Myanmar.

What’s behind the latest protests?
The protests kicked off amid rumors Suu Kyi had gone on trial in secret.

Suu Kyi is facing a new charge of violating the country’s disaster management law, according to her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw.

He added that while Suu Kyi’s trial was set to begin on March 1, there were signs that she had already made an initial appearance in court on Tuesday, without legal representation.

Suu Kyi was first charged after her detention on February 1, for possessing unregistered walkie-talkies.

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