© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Protesters march to protest against the military coup, in Dawei
(Reuters) – Thousands of protesters left Myanmar’s cities early on Sunday, marching to oppose the military government more than three months after a coup that halted democratic reform and economic growth and ushered in unrest. The protests, which the military have been unable to stop with a lethal crackdown, were coordinated Sunday with expatriate communities around the world to mark what organizers called “the spring world revolution in Myanmar.” “Shake the world with the voice of the unity of the people of Myanmar,” the organizers said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of violence at the rallies. The protests are just one of the problems the generals have sparked with their February 1 overthrow of an elected government headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Wars with ethnic minority insurgents in remote border regions in the north and east have escalated significantly in the past three months, displacing tens of thousands of civilians, according to UN estimates. In some places civilians with improvised weapons have fought off security forces, while in central areas military and government facilities that have been secure for generations have been rocked by rocket attacks and a wave of inexplicable small explosions. The state broadcaster in its main news bulletin on Saturday night gave details of at least 11 explosions during the previous 36 hours, most in the main city of Yangon. Reported some damage but no casualties. There have been no liability claims. “Some rioters who do not want the stability of the state have been dropping and planting handmade bombs in government buildings and on public roads,” the state broadcaster said. A spokesperson for the board did not respond to calls seeking comment. Khit Thit media reported an explosion outside a police headquarters in Yangon early Sunday. The vehicles were on fire, he said, but gave no information on casualties. Subsequently, he reported another explosion in the city. A news portal in the northeast Shan State reported an explosion outside the home of a prominent businessman. The advocacy group the Political Prisoner Assistance Association says security forces have killed at least 759 protesters since the coup. Reuters cannot confirm the number of victims. The army, which ruled for nearly 50 years until launching a tentative reform process a decade ago, acknowledged the deaths of 248 protesters in mid-April, saying they were killed after they started the violence. Several members of the security forces have died in the protests, the army says. The protests and a parallel campaign of civil disobedience of strikes crippled the economy and increased the prospects of hunger for the poor, aid agencies warned. The UN Development Program warned last week that the impact of the pandemic and political crisis could cause up to 25 million people in Myanmar to fall into poverty by 2022.