Posted February 13, 2021 1:17 pm by

Myanmar protesters block arrests as UN demands Suu Kyi’s release

Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 13 – Opposition to Myanmar’s new military regime intensified on Saturday as spontaneous neighbourhood watch groups mobilised to thwart arrests of anti-coup activists and the UN demanded the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The army takeover that brought a decade-old democracy to an end last week has unleashed a storm of anger and defiance, with huge daily protests bringing urban centres around the country to a standstill.

Since taking Suu Kyi and her top allies into custody, troops have stepped up arrests of civil servants, doctors and others joining strikes demanding the generals relinquish power.

The three-finger salute used by Myanmar’s anti-coup protesters has come to symbolise defiance of the new military regime © AFP / STR

Crowds defied overnight curfews to mass on the streets as night fell, hours after finishing a seventh straight day of rallies, following rumours that police were preparing to launch a fresh wave of arrests.

One group swarmed a hospital in the city of Pathein on rumours that a popular local doctor would be taken, chanting a Buddhist prayer urging protection from harm.

“If I have problems, I will ask for your help,” doctor Than Min Htut told the group who had come to aid him, flashing the three-finger salute that has come to symbolise resistance to the coup.

Than Min Htut spoke to AFP on Saturday to confirm he was still free and would continue to participate in a civil disobedience campaign opposing military rule.

Myanmar protesters block arrests as UN demands Suu Kyi’s release

Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen since her detention nearly two weeks ago © AFP / Sai Aung Main

People in Yangon skirted a junta ban on Facebook to organise neighbourhood watch groups that warned of rumoured arrests.

They signalled calls to gather outside buildings by banging pots and pans — a nightly phenomenon in the days after the coup that is traditionally associated with driving out evil.

“We didn’t know who will be taken, but when we heard the sound, we went out to join our neighbours,” said Tin Zar, a storekeeper in Yangon’s north.

“Even if they shoot, we are not afraid,” she told AFP.

More than 320 people have been arrested since last week’s coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

An emergency session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva called for the new Read More…