Tens of thousands of protesters yesterday poured on to the streets of Yangon in the biggest rally yet against the Myanmar coup, as an Internet blackout failed to stifle growing outrage at the military’s ouster of Burmese state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Some estimates put the number of protesters in Yangon at 100,000, and there were reports of large demonstrations in other cities, with rallies condemning the coup that brought Myanmar’s 10-year experiment with democracy to a crashing halt.
Backed by a din of vehicle horns, chanting protesters in Yangon held up banners reading: “Justice for Myanmar,” while others waved the signature red flags of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party as they marched to the city hall.
“I completely despise the military coup, and I am not afraid of a crackdown,” said Kyi Phyu Kyaw, a 20-year-old university student. “I will join every day until Amay Suu [Mother Suu] is freed.”
Protesters announced that they would return to the streets at 10am today, defying the state of emergency imposed by the military and indicating no let-up in their resistance to the coup.
They also called on civil servants and people employed in other industries to not go to work and join the protests.
“We will fight until the end,” said Ye Kyaw, an 18-year-old economics student. “The next generation can have democracy if we end this military dictatorship.”
There was also a large demonstration in the capital, Naypyidaw, despite the heavy military presence there, while tens of thousands rallied against the coup in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city.
Both of those protests included people on armadas of motorcycles, waving flags and banners as they rode through the cities.
There were also demonstrations in Mawlamyine city and the Magway region.
The surge in popular dissent over the weekend overcame a nationwide Internet blockade.
Monitoring service NetBlocks said that Internet access was partially restored on some mobile networks in Myanmar yesterday afternoon, but social media platforms remained blocked, and it was unclear how long the connectivity would last.
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