Economy

Myanmar protesters defy crackdown as junta hunts celebrities

Myanmar protesters defy crackdown as junta hunts celebrities”

Myanmar troops fired at anti-coup protesters on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding several, media said, as a series of small blasts hit the commercial capital Yangon and a Chinese-owned factory was set on fire.

The junta's vice-chairman, Soe Win, was shown on state-run television meeting with military officers in Shan state to detail what he said were more cases of fraud. In both places, at least 11 people - possibly including some bystanders - were reported killed.

"We can not really do what we want because we have shared borders and we need to live and rely on each other on many areas", said Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who had himself seized power in a 2014 coup when army chief, before taking on his current civilian role in 2019.

The mostly youth-led anti-coup movement's ability to organise campaigns and share information via social media and instant messaging has been hamstrung by the internet curbs.

In Yangon, the country's biggest city, activists placed shoes filled with flowers to commemorate dead protesters.

Arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, with the junta this week going after scores of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians.

Boris Johnson criticised the "unlawful imprisonment of civilians" after Ms Suu Kyi was detained.

She said eight trucks and about 50 soldiers had come to pick him up at their parents' home in Yangon, where he had been staying as he was unwell from malaria and a heart condition.

The country's most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, media reported.

It was the same day 141 demonstrators were killed in a crackdown by military rulers she said were selfish and abusing their power.

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Overseas, diplomatic tussles emerged again on Wednesday.

"We believe the United Kingdom government would not back those who are working for the military junta and we also would like to urge the United Kingdom government to send them back", ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn said through his spokesman who read out a statement in English.

© Getty File: Myanmar's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kyaw Zwar Minn, stands by a vehicle with a poster of Aung San Suu Kyi, as he is locked outside the Myanmar Embassy in London on April 7, 2021.

Kyaw Zwar Minn alleged he had been the victim of a "coup" in the streets of central London, saying the embassy was "seized" by the military attache in a "unacceptable and disrespectful" act against Myanmar people and the UK.

"CDM is an activity to destroy the country", he said.

The junta has not baulked at taking on celebrities, and on Thursday arrested Paing Takhon, a popular 24 year old model and actor who had spoken out against the coup and pledged support for Aung San Suu Kyi, his sister Thi Thi Lwin said.

Fitch Solutions said in a report that Western sanctions targeting the military were unlikely to succeed in restoring democracy, but said the army was losing control.

It predicted a violent revolution pitting the military against an armed opposition comprised of members of the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias.

The vast majority of people back Suu Kyi's ousted government, it added.



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