For the second year running, tens of thousands took to the streets of Burma to contest last week’s military coup and demand respect for the outcome of the November general election, won by an absolute majority by Aung San’s National League for Democracy (NLD). Suu Kyi, but classified as fraudulent by the army, which therefore decided to overthrow the government and arrest key political and civilian leaders.
“We don’t want a military dictatorship, we want democracy,” shouted the demonstrators in Rangoon, the largest city in the country, where, according to Reuters, more than 60,000 people took part in the demonstrations on Sunday, which are considered to be the largest since the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007, sponsored by Buddhist monks who sparked a wave of protests against the rise in transport and fuel prices that became a general challenge for the military junta.
“We don’t want a dictatorship for the next generation,” said Thaw Zin, a 21-year-old protester. “We will not end this revolution until we have made history. We will fight to the end ”, guaranteed.
After a 24-hour cut that turned out to be ineffective, the Internet was restored this Sunday in Burma, although access to some social networks such as Facebook or Twitter remains restricted, according to the BBC.
In addition to the protests in Yangon, where the red color of the NLD once again dominated the protesters’ clothes, in the ties on the lapels or in the balloons scattered on the streets, there were smaller demonstrations in the capital Naypyidaw and in Mandalay, the second largest city Burma.
Shielded police erected barricades and blocked several streets in Rangoon as protesters marched to the Sule Pagoda in the city center, a symbolic site where the major protests took place in 2007 and 1988, when hundreds or even thousands of protesters were massacred .
Despite the strong police force, the authorities did not use force to disperse demonstrators who sang songs in support of Suu Kyi and saluted the three fingers, one of the symbols of opposition to the military, inspired by pro-democracy movements in neighboring Thailand. According to Reuters, some protesters gave flowers to police officers.
So far, the military, led by Ming Aung Hlaing, who took power and declared a year-long state of emergency, has not yet commented on the wave of protests and has hesitated to increase against protesters at a time when international growth is under pressure.
This Sunday Pope Francis joined the chorus of international voices calling for democracy to be respected in Burma. During the Angelus message this Sunday, he expressed concern and solidarity with the Burmese people and called for a return to “harmonious democratic coexistence”.
In 2017, Pope Francis visited Bangladesh and Burma, a country where the vast majority of its 53 million residents are Buddhists and only about 800,000 Catholics, after meeting with General Ming Aung Hlaing, to whom he expressed concerns about the treatment of the EU expressed Muslim Rohingya minority through the army.