Myanmar people honk horns, bang on pots to protest coup
(Sourced from PTI)
Scores of people in Myanmar's largest city honked car horns and banged on pots and pans on Tuesday in the first known public resistance to the coup, led a day earlier by the country's military. Shouts could be heard in several neighborhoods of Yangon, wishing their detained leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi good health and calling for freedom.
"Beating a drum in Myanmar culture is like we are kicking out the devils," said one participant who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. Several pro-democracy groups had asked people to make noise at 8 pm to show their opposition. A senior politician and close confidante of Suu Kyi also urged citizens to defy the military through civil disobedience.
Win Htein, a leader of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, spoke from a small party office in the capital, Naypyitaw, not far from where hundreds of lawmakers elected in the November vote were detained when the military seized power on Monday. He said the curse of the coup is rooted in the country, which is why the country still remains poor.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the military began lifting restrictions on hundreds of Parliament members confined at a guarded government housing complex, with the new government telling them to go back to their homes, party spokesman Kyi Toe said. He said Suu Kyi was in good health at a separate location where she was being held for the time being. Toe's comments couldn't immediately be confirmed.
On Monday, military-owned Myawaddy TV announced that Commander in Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing would be in charge of Myanmar for one year. The military justified it by saying that the government had not acted on their unsubstantiated claims of fraud in November's election, in which Suu Kyi's party won a majority of seats. It claimed the takeover was legal under the constitution.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is facing an increase in coronavirus cases, with over 140,300 confirmed cases and about 3,100 deaths, as of Tuesday. The country has just received its first supply of vaccines from India. Criticizing the generals for the impact the coup would have on efforts to protect lives, Htein said the coup will delay the vaccines and impact the country's economy.
The move was widely condemned abroad. US President Joe Biden called the military's actions a direct assault on the country's transition to democracy and the rule of law and threatened new sanctions. UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday but took no action.
Meanwhile, Suu Kyi's party released a statement on Tuesday calling for the military to honor the results of the election and release all of those detained as have the leaders of many other countries. "The Commander in Chief seizing the power of the nation is against the constitution and it also neglects the sovereign power of people," the party said.
A new Cabinet composed of current and former generals and former advisors to a previous government headed by former Gen. Thein Sein held its first meeting on Tuesday. The UN envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, urged the UN Security Council to collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar.
She said the Security Council's fundamental role must be ensuring democracy is expeditiously restored. Diplomats said that was the key element of a draft statement for the council to release, along with a call for the immediate release of the detainees.