Protesters against military rule yesterday marched in Myanmar, three months after a coup ended a democratic transition, with several small blasts compounding a sense of crisis that a UN envoy warned could bring state administration to a halt.
The military has tried to end dissent and impose its authority on a people largely opposed to the return of rule by the generals after 10 years of democratic reforms that included a government led by deposed Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Despite a relentless crackdown in which at least 759 protesters have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, crowds come out day after day to reject the junta.
“Our cause, democracy, our cause, a federal union. Free arrested leaders,” protesters chanted at one of two rallies in the main city of Yangon.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup, along with many other members of her party.
The AAPP says that more than 3,400 people have been detained for opposing the military.
People also rallied in the second city of Mandalay and the southern town of Dawei, media reported.
There were no immediate reports of violence.
Media reported several small blasts in different places, including Yangon, late on Friday and yesterday. There were no immediate reports of casualties and no claims of responsibility.
A spokesman for the junta did not answer calls seeking comment. The military has accused pro-democracy activists of planting bombs.
UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener on Friday told the UN Security Council that in the absence of a collective international response to the coup, violence is worsening and the running of the state risked coming to a standstill, said diplomats who attended the private meeting.
Schraner Burgener briefed the 15-member council from Thailand, where she has been meeting regional leaders. She hopes to travel to Myanmar, but the military has yet to approve a visit.
“The general administration of the state could risk coming to a standstill as the pro-democracy movement continues in spite of the ongoing use of lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture as part of the military’s repression,” Schraner Burgener said, according to diplomats.
She told diplomats that reports of a continuing crackdown risked undermining momentum toward ending the crisis following a meeting of the 10-member ASEAN on April 25 with the junta leader, Burmese Army Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Schraner Burgener, expressing concern about rising violence, cited reports of bomb attacks and of civilians, mostly students from the urban areas, receiving weapons training from ethnic minority insurgents.
The UN Security Council reiterated its “deep concern” at the situation and its support for Myanmar’s democratic transition.
It called for an immediate end to violence in Myanmar as stated in an ASEAN plan, giving unanimous approval to a statement watered down to satisfy China and Russia.
The plan, which also calls for the naming of an envoy from ASEAN to address the crisis should be applied “without delay,” the council statement said.
Additional reporting by AFP
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