Police Fire Water Cannons At Myanmar Demonstrators
CALLS to join protests and to back a campaign of civil disobedience have grown louder and more organized since last Monday’s coup, which drew widespread international condemnation. As tensions escalated, the Police in the capital Naypyidaw fired water cannons against a very large group of the protesters who had gathered in a town centre square.
Police temporarily stopped using the water cannons for a while after protesters appealed to them, some even handing branches and flowers to the police as the demonstration continued.
“We health workers are leading this campaign to urge all government staff to join the (civil disobedience movement)”, Aye Misan, a nurse at a government hospital said at a protest in the biggest city of Yangon. “Our message to the public is that we aim to completely abolish this military regime and we have to fight for our destiny.”
Thousands also marched in the southeastern coastal city of Dawei and in the Kachin state capital in the far north, the massive crowds reflecting a rejection of military rule by diverse ethnic groups, even those who have been critical of Suu Kyi and accused her government of neglecting minorities.
In Yangon, a group of saffron-robed monks marched in the vanguard of protests with workers and students. They flew multicoloured Buddhist flags alongside red banners in the colour of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide election in November.
“Release Our Leaders, Respect Our Votes, Reject Military Coup,” said one sign. Other signs read “Save democracy” and “Say No to Dictatorship”. Weekend protests were the biggest since the “Saffron Revolution” led by Buddhist monks in 2007 that helped prompt democratic reforms that were upended by the Feb. 1 coup.
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