Myanmar coup: Police fire rubber bullets as protesters defy ban

Share to

Police in Myanmar has fired rubber bullets during a demonstration in the capital Nay Pyi Taw, as people defy attempts to end days of protests.

Water cannons were used earlier to disperse protesters, who are demanding democracy be restored following a coup that removed the elected government.

The military has brought in bans on large public gatherings and introduced night-time curfews in some cities.

But protests have gone ahead in several cities for the fourth consecutive day.

Military leader Min Aung Hlaing warned on Monday that no one is above the law, although he did not issue a direct threat to protesters.

A broadcast on Burmese state TV following his speech said the action “must be taken” against those breaking the law in the Southeast Asian nation.

How is the police reacting to protesters?

A BBC reporter in Nay Pyi Taw said officers used a water cannon before firing into the crowd which had gathered on Tuesday.

One resident told news agency AFP they initially “fired warning shots to the sky two times, then they fired [at protesters] with rubber bullets”.

The crowd had earlier withstood the barrage of water fired at them and refused to retreat, according to Reuters news agency.

“End the military dictatorship”, people yelled out.

According to BBC Burmese reporters, protesters in Nay Pyi Taw were even joined by a police officer. There have been other reports of officers crossing over to take part in the demonstrations, as protesters called on the police to join their cause.

In other cities across Myanmar, protesters are continuing to gather with pictures showing substantial crowds in several places.

Video also emerged showing police firing water cannons in the city of Bago.

It follows Monday’s action, which saw teachers, lawyers, bank officers, and government workers gather in cities across the country.

A few injuries were reported, but there were no reports of violence.

How is the military reacting?

Monday saw Gen Min Aung Hlaing give his first televised address since the coup a week earlier. He insisted the seizure of power was justified due to “voter fraud”, accusing the electoral commission of failing to investigate irregularities over voter lists in the November election.

The commission had said there was no evidence to support claims of widespread fraud. The election was won in a landslide by the party of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ms. Suu Kyi and senior leaders of her National League for Democracy Party (NLD), including President Win Myint, have been put under house arrest after being detained a week ago.

Gen Min Aung Hlaing promised new elections overseen by a new “reformed” election commission and said the military would hand power to the winner.

He also said his rule would be “different” from what was effectively a 49-year military grip on power that ended in 2011.

He spoke of achieving a “true and disciplined democracy”, a phrase that drew scorn from some opponents of the coup on social media.

On Tuesday, New Zealand announced that it would be suspending all high-level contact with Myanmar and imposing a travel ban on its military leaders.

Ms. Ardern added that New Zealand’s aid programs in Myanmar were worth about NZ$42m ($30.5m; £22m) between 2018 and 2021, according to a Reuters news agency report. It is the first major international move to isolate the military since they took power on 1 February.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.