Myanmar’s Suu Kyi detained on remand until Feb 17, says lawyer

Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2021

An anti-coup protester dressed in a Batman costume outside the Central Bank of Myanmar building in Yangon, Myanmar.

Soldiers were deployed to power plants in the northern state of Kachin, leading to a confrontation with demonstrators, some of whom said they believed the army meant to cut off the electricity.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Naypyitaw, the nation's capital, and Mandalay, the country's second-largest city.

Myanmar police and military forces have fired at peaceful protesters during demonstrations in the northern city of Mandalay, local media reports say. It wasn't clear exactly how many students were rounded up, but estimates put the figure at between 20 and 40.

A convoy of thousands on motorbikes and in cars also drove through the capital Naypyitaw, with protesters holding up images of Suu Kyi's face.

Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer asked by Suu Kyi's party to represent her, said he was uncertain if she would have a court appearance Monday, and it could be delayed by a day. The Nobel laureate remains under house arrest on a minor charge of possessing unregistered imported walkie-talkies.

In the Christian stronghold of Kachin state, nuns stood at the entrance of a church compound while holding placards stating "No to dictatorship" and "Listen to the voices of people" while protesters swarmed the streets of Myitkyina, the state's capital city, on February 14.

Myanmar's junta cut the nation's internet and deployed extra troops around the country on Monday as fears built of a widespread crackdown on anti-coup protests, but defiant demonstrators again took to the streets.

Armored vehicles have been seen on the streets of Yangon since Sunday - the first reported deployment since the protests began. An armoured vehicle and about six trucks carrying soldiers were parked nearby.

In the two weeks since troops ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and took the civilian leader into custody, big urban centres and isolated village communities alike have been in open revolt.

The state election commission refuted that contention, saying there is no evidence to support it.

Protesters outside the Central Bank of Myanmar building in Yangon, Myanmar.

Myanmar police fired water cannons into pro-democracy crowds in at least three different cities as protests continue against the military's seizure of power on February 1.

They condemned the arrests of political leaders and activists as well as the military's interference with communications.

Protesters in Yangon, the country's biggest city, again congregated at Hleden intersection, a key crossroads from which groups fanned out to other points, including the embassies of the United States and China.

"About seven police officers searched for about 30 minutes (for two MPs)", NLD member Soe Win told AFP after the security forces left without finding them.

On Sunday, the military published penal code amendments aimed at stifling dissent and residents reported an internet outage after midnight on Sunday which lasted until about 9 am.

But the monitor noted that most users in Myanmar were still barred from social media.

"It is very heart-rending", said Thant Zaw Htun, 45, originally from Yangon and now an employee at a recruitment agency, referring to the protests in Myanmar.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the military authorities to allow the UN special envoy for Myanmar to visit the country.

The UN envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, spoke with the deputy commander of the Myanmar army, Soe Win, and warned that "network blackouts undermine core democratic principles", UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in NY.

On Thursday, President Biden called for a return to democracy in Myanmar, and said the US would impose sanctions against the military leaders engaged in the coup.

Western embassies - from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and 11 other nations - issued a statement late on Sunday calling on security forces to "refrain from violence against demonstrators and civilians, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government".

Journalists on the scene also said police had beaten them in the melee.