Home Top Stories Burmese Protesters Face Up To 20 Years In Prison Under New Law

Burmese Protesters Face Up To 20 Years In Prison Under New Law

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With the Army deployed in the streets of the country and after a long night without internet, the Burmese once again challenged the growing repression of the military on Monday and came out one more day to protest, while the elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, continues in house arrest.Two weeks after the coup and in an increasingly tense atmosphere, the police and soldiers fired indiscriminately today with compressed air guns to b reak up a demonstration in Mandalay, the second-largest city in the country, as confirmed by two witnesses to Press, without at the moment there are figures of injuries. In Rangoon, groups of protesters showed their rejection of the military junta with banners reading “End the dictatorship” as the tanks and military trucks that have been touring the largest city in the country since the day before.

The army has warned anti-coup protesters across the country that they could face up to 20 years in prison if they obstruct the actions of the armed forces. Long penalties and fines will also apply to those who incite “hatred or contempt” towards the coup plotters, the BBC reported. On Saturday, the military also reported that arrest warrants had been issued against seven prominent opposition activists and warned the public not to shelter opposition activists fleeing arrest. Video footage showed people reacting defiantly, banging on pots and pans to warn their neighbors of nightly raids by security forces. The army also suspended laws on Saturday requiring court orders to detain people for more than 24 hours and to search private property.

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At the headquarters of the Central Bank, the Army deployed several armed vehicles and more than a hundred policemen early in the morning as a clear message of threat to the employees who have decided to protest the military uprising that ended the elected government of Aung Saint Suu Kyi. One of the most effective assets of the civil disobedience movement against the coup is the strikes started by workers in the health sector and which are being followed by many officials, which is paralyzing the Administration. The military presence was also noticed today in the surroundings of the headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by Suu Kyi, where protesters were gathered to demand the release of the Nobel Peace Prize.

SUU KYI STILL ARRESTED

The popular 75-year-old leader has been under house arrest at her official residence in the capital, Naipydo, since last February 1, the military rose against the elected government and detained part of its members. Suu Kyi will remain in detention until at least Wednesday when she could appear before a judge, lawyer Khin Maung Zaw confirmed to Press. Until now, the State Councilor, who has already spent 15 years under house arrest during previous governments of military boards, has been accused of illegally importing a telephone device and faces a sentence of up to three years in prison. Suu Kyi’s lawyer, who assured that he has not yet been able to meet with his client, said that Wednesday’s session is expected to be held by videoconference, although the judge said that everything will depend on the decision of the police.

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A LONG NIGHT

Burma woke up today from a long night of uncertainty after the army was deployed in the streets late on Sunday afternoon and the internet was cut off, leaving citizens practically incommunicado for fear of more arrests and greater repression of the uniformed. The silence came after a week of massive protests and when the population shared on social networks an avalanche of videos of demonstrations and police raids. According to the NetBlocks observatory, internet traffic in Burma fell to 14% of normal from 1:00 a.m. on Monday (18:30 GMT on Sunday) and did not return to normal until eight hours later, in the third communications blackout since the coupĀ  perpetrated by the military junta two weeks ago.

The repression in the streets and the deployment of tanks in various areas of Rangoon led a group of embassies, including those of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and a dozen other countries, to publish a statement on the night of Sunday in which they “unequivocally” condemn the arrest of political leaders, activists, and officials and the harassment of journalists. “We call on the security forces to refrain from using violence against protesters and civilians, who are protesting against the overthrow of a legitimate government,” the statement reads. We support the people of Burma in their quest for democracy, freedom, peace, and prosperity. The world is watching,” they warned. The military junta, headed by the head of the Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing, justified the seizure of power due to alleged electoral fraud in the elections last November in which the NLD of Suu Kyi devastated them as it did in 2015.

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