Myanmar protest marches faced off with army tanks on Monday (Feb 15) as locals called for the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Footage from the former capital Yangon, or Rangoon, shows the protests as military officers patrolled the streets and fired gunshots. The UN warned against a crackdown but junta chiefs continued to close communications and stepped up the arrest of political opponents.
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen since the army seized power in a military coup on February 1.
Aung San Suu Kyi – daughter of the late General Aung San – is believed to be under house arrest with all communication methods cut off. Several other civilian politicians have also been arrested and detained.
The concern is growing for her safety after the U.S. is believed to have made several failed attempts to contact her.
Mass protests have continued for ten consecutive days, despite army chiefs leading a crackdown and warning media to avoid the term ‘military coup’ and refer to the newly former administration as a ‘State Management Council’.
They have erupted across the country with millions of Burmese calling for the civilian government to be restored.
Army chiefs last week 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.
They then blasted protesters with water cannon and fired warning gunshots earlier this week. International pressure on Myanmar has grown, with U.S. Democrat politicians warning of sanctions on the country. Joe Biden announced at the White House on Wednesday.
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.