Opponents and supporters of Myanmar coup fight as more protests are planned By Reuters

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2/2 © Reuters. Demonstrators Demonstrate Against Military Coup at Yangon University 2/2

(Reuters) – Supporters and opponents of Myanmar’s armed forces clashed on the streets of Yangon on Thursday when authorities prevented students from leaving their campus to march, a day after a first wave of diplomacy aimed at solving the crisis. . The country has been in crisis since the army seized power on February 1 and detained civil government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party’s leaders after the army complained of election fraud. of November. There have been around three weeks of daily protests and strikes and the students vowed to go out again at the Yangon Mall on Thursday. “We students have to overthrow the dictatorship,” said Kaung Sat Wai, 25, outside the main university campus in Yangon. “Since the coup, our lives have become desperate, our dreams have died.” But police blocked the campus gates, preventing hundreds of students inside from marching. At the same time, around 1,000 supporters of the armed forces gathered for a demonstration in central Yangon. Some of them threatened news photographers, media workers said, and fights broke out between pro and anti-military protesters. One photographer was slightly injured, he said. Later, military supporters threw stones and fired catapults, witnesses said, and there was an unconfirmed report of a stabbing. The standoff underscored volatility in a country largely paralyzed by protests and a campaign of civil disobedience of strikes against the military, joined by many professionals and government workers. Doctors were due to hold a protest Thursday as part of the so-called white coat revolution. Meanwhile, Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 said it had banned the Myanmar military from using it and its Instagram platform with immediate effect. He cited violence and the risk of allowing the military to use the platforms. The ruling military council spokesman did not respond to a Reuters phone call seeking comment. The security forces have shown more restraint compared to previous crackdowns against people who lobbied for democracy during nearly half a century of direct military rule. The military chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, says the authorities are following a democratic path in dealing with the protests and that the police are using minimal force, such as rubber bullets, state media reported. However, three protesters and a policeman have been killed in violent acts. A human rights group said that as of Wednesday 728 people had been arrested, charged or convicted in connection with the pro-democracy protests. The army intervened to overthrow the government, saying that military complaints of fraud in the November 8 elections, swept away by Suu Kyi’s party as expected, had been ignored. The electoral commission said the vote was fair. The army said its action was within the constitution and promised to hold a new election after reviewing the voter lists. Suu Kyi has been held incommunicado since the coup, at her home in the capital Naypyitaw, but her party says her November victory must be respected. ‘RESTRICTION’ The question of an election has arisen at the center of early diplomatic efforts to find a way out of the crisis, with Indonesia leading the way within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). His foreign minister said on Wednesday that he had held intensive talks with the Myanmar military and representatives of the overthrown government. The minister, Retno Marsudi, met with Myanmar’s military-appointed Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin for a chat in the Thai capital earlier in the day. But Indonesia’s intervention has raised suspicions among opponents of the coup in Myanmar who fear it will give the junta legitimacy and its attempt to scrap the November elections. Retno told reporters that the welfare of the Myanmar people was the top priority. “We ask that everyone use restraint and not resort to violence,” he said after speaking with the Myanmar minister and his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai. A Reuters report this week quoted sources as saying Indonesia was proposing that ASEAN members send monitors to ensure the generals deliver on their promise of fair elections. The army has not set a deadline for an election, although it imposed a one-year state of emergency when it took power. Retno did not mention an election, but emphasized “the importance of an inclusive democratic transition process.” The crisis has restored Myanmar’s reputation as a troubled member of the ten-nation ASEAN, and the diplomatic struggle of its neighbors comes as international concern grows. The United States, Britain and others have imposed limited sanctions targeting board members and military companies.