Riot police fired water cannons at protesters in Myanmar today (Feb 8).
Footage shows trucks blasting people who had gathered in the ‘modern’ capital Naypyitaw to protest against the military coup which toppled leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week.
Protests have erupted following the coup in Yangon on Monday (Feb 1) which saw the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and other politicians detained before army chiefs seized power.
In astonishing scenes at the weekend, large crowds wore red as they marched towards the City Hall near Sule Pagoda, which became the focal point where dozens of smaller marches all converged. Armed riot police protected the building, which is the seat of the city’s administrative body.
Hundreds of thousands of Burmese residents including families and children lined the route and applauded as protest marches passed by.
Army chiefs reacted to the mass protests by closing Internet and phone connections across the capital on Saturday (Feb 6) shortly after 11 am local time before it was restored on Sunday (Feb 7) at around 3 pm local time.
The unrest came amid anger at the military coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi, who had introduced democratic reforms to the country.
Doctors, nurses, students and residents have protested and called for the civilian government to be reinstated.
The military said in a statement that ‘all authority has been given to the top army commander and a one-year state of emergency has been declared’. Reacting to events, The White House said it was ‘alarmed’ by the developments in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
Spokesman Jen Psaki said: ‘We continue to affirm our strong support for Burma’s democratic institutions.’ America called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released and threatened to ‘take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed’.
Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began.