Highlights:

  • The protest was witnessed in Myanmar in face of a Military Coup with protestors chanting slogans, raising a three-finger salute, and carrying placards saying “Reject the military coup” and “Justice for Myanmar”.
  • Monday’s protest was followed by the protest on Sunday, with protestors demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other top officials. 
  • Although Ms. Suu won the election in 2015, its power is limited due to the military-drafted constitution. 
  • On Friday elected politicians of Ms. Suu Kyi party had met online to declare themselves as the lone representatives of the people

At a major Yangon intersection, protestors chanted slogans, raised a three-finger salute, and carried placards saying “Reject the military coup” and “Justice for Myanmar”. Starting with hundreds, the crowd gradually grew and the hundreds turned into thousands by mid-morning and passing cars honked their horns in solidarity.

Few groups broke off from the main protest and headed to the Sule Pagoda, a former rallying point for significant protest against previous ruling juntas. The action on Monday was followed by a protest on Sunday involving thousands of people demanding the release of leader Aung Suu Kyi and other top officials from her Party National League for Democracy. 

The rising protest is a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in Myanmar that was directly ruled for more than five decades before loosening its grip in 2012. Although Ms. Suu won the election in 2015, its power is limited due to the military-drafted constitution. During Myanmar’s years of isolation under military rule, the golden-domed Sule Pagoda served as a rallying point for significant political protests calling for democracy, notably during the massive 1988 uprising and in 2007 during the revolt led by Buddhist monks. Deadly force was used by the military to end both the uprisings, with nearly hundreds if not thousands killed in the 1988 uprising.

In the past week, while riot police have watched the protest, soldiers have been absent and there have been no reports of casualties. On Friday elected politicians of Ms. Suu Kyi party had met online to declare themselves as the lone representatives of the people and asked for international recognition as the country’s government. The Government of Suu Kyi has been accused by the military of failing to act on its complaints that last November’s election was marred by fraud, despite the election commission declaring it had no evidence to support the claims.

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