Protests continue in Burma. Protesters took to the streets Thursday, March 4, despite the fear that was on everyone’s mind in the aftermath of the deadliest day of repression since the coup, with at least 38 protesters killed, according to the UN . The United Nations has raised the tone, urging the army to stop “to murder” pro-democratic protesters.
“I am also appalled by the documented attacks on emergency medical personnel and ambulances attempting to provide care to the injured.”said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Despite the fear of reprisals, several demonstrations took place, notably in Rangoon, the economic capital. “We are united”, chanted protesters, protected behind makeshift barricades erected using old tires, bricks, sandbags, bamboo and barbed wire.
Wednesday’s violence sparked yet another round of international protests. President Emmanuel Macron urged “the immediate end of the repression” and the US State Department said to itself “horrified and repulsed”, calling on China to “use your influence” with the generals. Beijing and Moscow, traditional allies of the Burmese army at the United Nations, have not formally condemned the coup, considering the crisis as “an internal affair” in the country.
The repression also continues in the judicial field. Aung San Suu Kyi, still held incommunicado by the army, is now targeted by four charges, including “incitement to public disturbance”. Former President Win Myint is notably accused of having violated the Constitution. Six Burmese journalists, including Thein Zaw, a photographer for the American agency Associated Press (AP), are being prosecuted for having “caused fear among the population, spread false information (…) or incited government employees to disobedience”. They face three years in prison.
More than 1,700 people have been arrested since February 1, according to the UN. The last popular uprisings of 1988 and 2007 were bloodily suppressed by the military. The army, which is contesting the result of the November elections won overwhelmingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, has promised a new ballot, without giving any timetable.