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Myanmar protestors flood Mandalay streets despite army crackdown

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New Delhi, Feb 22, 2021-
People in Myanmar have been pouring on to the streets in protests against the coup by the Myanmarese army – the Tatmadaw. Myanmar’s big towns are witnessing daily rallies and protests asking for democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be released.

Exclusive photographs and video obtained by IndiaNarrative show that anti-coup demonstrators have effectively mobilised tens of thousands of people in Mandalay against the army.

Photographs show a flood of people marching to Myanmar’s downtown areas despite the army’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The video obtained by India Narrative shows how the military is trying to scare citizens by firing randomly. A posse of soldiers are seen marching along railway tracks in Mandalay and firing in the dark.

Sources say that many people were killed over the last two days in Mandalay protests and scores have been hospitalised. Hundreds have been arrested, claim sources.

A former capital of Myanmar, Mandalay is the second-largest city and is an economic powerhouse. Located on the Irrawaddy River, it has historical links with India.

The Myanmar military imposed emergency late last month for one year after arresting Suu Kyi and senior members of her government. Her party, the National League of Democracy (NLD) had recently won a landslide victory in elections. The military, however, dismissed her popular government after alleging irregularity in elections.

The army issued a statement after the coup, saying, “… there have been a lot of protests going on in townships and cities in Myanmar to demonstrate their mistrust toward UEC. Other parties and people have also been found conducting different kinds of provocations including displaying flags which are very damaging to national security.”

The statement said: “… the state of emergency is declared in accordance with article 417 of the 2008 constitution.In order to perform scrutiny of the voter lists and to take action, the authority of the nation’s law making, governance and jurisdiction is handed over to the Commander in Chief in accordance with the 2008 constitution article 418, sub article (a).”

However, protestors allege that China is supporting the military regime in suppressing protests by helping the junta in curbing internet and communication facilities. The military is also threatening civilians with severe punishments for opposing their rule.

China has been one of the long-standing supporters of the military regime. In the nearly two decades of military rule, it was China that supported the Myanmar generals when the West had imposed sanctions against the junta. China retains interest in Myanmar owing to its strategic location – a link between South Asia and South-East Asia, where China is trying to access the Indian Ocean for easier routes for its oil imports bypassing the Malacca strait.

Over the last few years with the advent of democracy, both the elected government as well as the Myanmar army, had established strong ties with India in defence relations and strategic cooperation. (Agency)

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