Thousands defy military in Myanmar to continue protests against the coup

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP, AFP
Thousands defy military in Myanmar to continue protests against the coup
Copyright  Eugene Hoshiko/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Thousands of people in Myanmar have defied a ban on demonstrations to continue protesting against the military coup that took place on February 1.

In the city of Yangon, people carried banners denouncing the takeover of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Other protests were staged in Mandalay and the capital, Naypyitaw, as well as in more remote areas dominated by ethnic minorities.

Some protesters carried signs urging people to boycott businesses linked to the military.

The demonstrators accuse China of supporting the coup. The US has condemned the military and imposed sanctions in response.

"The civil disobedience movement and demonstrations show that the people of Myanmar want democracy. We stand with them,'' said a statement on the US Embassy's Twitter account.

Eight days of street demonstrations are estimated to have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the streets despite the threat of six months' imprisonment for violating an order banning gatherings of five or more people.

The same order imposes an 8pm to 4am curfew.

Protesters also have reason to fear for their personal safety, as police have used rubber bullets to try to break up some demonstrations.

A 19-year-old woman who was shot in the head with what experts said was live ammunition at a protest in Naypyitaw was on life support in hospital and was not expected to recover.

Tributes to the woman were held on Sunday by protesters in Yangon and Mandalay, Myanmar's second-biggest city.

The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says 384 people have been detained since the coup, with 360 still being held.

Suu Kyi remains under house arrest, but a remand order holding her on a minor charge of possessing unregistered imported walkie-talkies expires on Monday.