Myanmar protests in 2nd week, with neither side backing down

Image Reuters Demonstrators hold up signs during a protest against the military coup in Yangon Myanmar

Image Reuters Demonstrators hold up signs during a protest against the military coup in Yangon Myanmar

But he refused to go quietly.

"We won't play for the national team under the military dictatorship". "People are protecting each other, staying up late at night", he said.

They bang pots and pans when they spot security forces entering their ward, alerting neighbours who rush out onto the street to try to protect targeted dissidents.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing called on civil servants to return to work on Thursday and urged people to stop mass gatherings to avoid spreading the coronavirus - addressing the protests for the first time.

The junta remitted the sentences of more than 23,000 prisoners on Friday, saying the move was consistent with "establishing a new democratic state with peace, development and discipline" and would "please the public".

The United Nations Human Rights Council on February 12 adopted a resolution on Myanmar, in which it deplored the removal of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government by the Tatmadaw (military) and called for its restoration.

The 75-year-old ousted state counsellor has been held incommunicado since Feb 1.

Suu Kyi, for decades the standard bearer of the fight for democracy in Myanmar, faces charges of illegally importing and using six walkie-talkie radios. But their deep mistrust of the military, which has brutally repressed their armed struggles for more autonomy, has made them uneasy allies with her party.

Suu Kyi, 75, won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy and remains hugely popular at home despite damage to her worldwide reputation over the plight of the Rohingya.

Myanmar permanent representative at Geneva U Myint Thu defended the coup's leaders.

"Gradually, we will be treated like slaves by the military", she says.

"As the people of Myanmar demonstrate their remarkable courage and resolve, let us demonstrate our support of them and the principles and values that they are fighting for", he added.

On Friday, in the port city of Mawlamyine, police fired rubber bullets on students while dispersing a sit-down protest.

More than 384 people have been detained since the coup, the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said, in a wave of mostly nightly arrests.

Concern grew Thursday that the junta was planning to impose a much harsher and sustained internet crackdown, including enacting a draft cybersecurity bill that would allow the military to order blackouts and website bans. "We want to finish this ASAP".

"Min Aung Hlaing had already been sanctioned, so ..."

The Philippine government distanced itself from a United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution that called for the lifting of the state of emergency and the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained in the military coup d'etat in Myanmar earlier this month.

Significantly, he has offered prominent positions to ethnic minority parties and politicians who had been alienated by the NLD.

Min Aung Hlaing and other top generals are already under US sanctions over abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities. He said there must be an end to impunity, and the military leadership must be held accountable for its actions.

But the Arakan Army and the military halted hostilities around the election.

Diplomacy: One key to success is for the U.S. to enlist Japan, India, and Singapore, all top foreign investors in Myanmar, in its efforts to respond to the coup.

"We suffered in Rakhine state and we never want to suffer again". But sanctions can not be the only tool that the United States deploys.

"As a sovereign country in a world of sovereign states, the Philippines can not stress strongly enough the primacy of national internal efforts towards democratic reforms, and never by the imposition of foreign solutions whether in regional or multilateral contexts, including through this Council", it said.

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