Myanmar Protest: Water Cannons Disperse Demonstrators After Military Coup

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Myanmar Protest: Water Cannons Disperse Demonstrators After Military Coup” – below is their description.

Police officers in Mandalay, Myanmar, deployed water cannons on protesters Tuesday as they rallied against the country’s new military rulers. The protest was held a day after Myanmar’s new military rulers issued decrees that effectively banned peaceful public protests in Mandalay and in the commercial capital Yangon.

Rallies and gatherings of more than five people, along with motorized processions, have been banned, and an 8pm to 4am curfew has been imposed.

The decrees enabling the new restrictive measures were issued on a township-by-township basis, and were expected to be extended to other areas as well.

The military has said that they were issued in response to people carrying out unlawful actions that harm the rule of law, a reference to the protests which have continued for several days.

The protesters are demanding that power be restored to the deposed civilian government.

They’re also seeking freedom for the nation’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other ruling party members detained when the military blocked the new session of Parliament from convening on February 1.

It’s put the youth-led anti-coup movement on a potential collision course with a military that has a history of deadly crackdowns against dissent.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have swarmed streets across the Southeast Asian nation since the weekend, using social media to quickly mobilize supporters with three main demands: the release of civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, recognition of the 2020 election results won by her party and a withdrawal of the military from politics.

In his first remarks since the coup, military chief Min Aung Hlaing defended his actions by repeating claims of voter fraud in November’s election that have been disputed by the election commission, international observers and Suu Kyi’s party. He also reiterated that the army would hold an election after the yearlong state of emergency and respect the outcome.

“We request everyone to cooperate with us for the good of the country,” Min Aung Hlaing said. In separate remarks broadcast on military-run Myawady HD later Monday, he called the coup “unavoidable,” said the military would guarantee all existing investment projects and overhauled the constitutional court while vowing the country would “get back on track within a short period of time.”

The coup reversed a decade of democratic progress that showed Myanmar’s younger generation an alternative to the generals who have run the country for most of its history since it achieved independence from Britain in 1948. International pressure continued to grow, with the U.S. reiterating its plan to renew sanctions and New Zealand suspending high-level political and military contact with Myanmar.

“It’s hard to see the military backing down,” said Sebastian Strangio, author of “In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century.” “All this puts the two sides on a collision course.”

Myanmar’s biggest protests in more than a decade began with an online call for “civil disobedience” in Yangon and quickly spread to other cities, prompting the military regime to shut off the internet and block platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Activists in the traditionally conservative country have held up expletive-laden placards taunting a military that has violently suppressed dissent during similar protests in 1988 and 2007.

The protersters are the latest members of Asia’s so-called Milk Tea Alliance fighting for democracy in places like Hong Kong and Thailand. Still, it remains to be seen if they’ll have any more success in pressuring authoritarians to back down.

The peaceful protests in Myanmar have been similar to those in Thailand seeking to reform the monarchy, and many protesters in Yangon have adopted the three-finger salute made popular by their neighbors in Bangkok. Both of those movements have used social media in a similar way to demonstrators in Hong Kong, where protests turned more violent. In Hong Kong and Thailand, authorities haven’t yielded to demands and stacked legal charges on key protest leaders.

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