Myanmar nationals to protest junta

Ruben Fields
February 27, 2021

"We warn the military junta that those who are responsible for repression and killing of peaceful protesters as well as the detention of government officials and journalists will be held accountable before global jurisdictions", the experts said in a statement.

The violence complicates an already intractable standoff between the military and a protest movement that has been staging large rallies daily to demand that Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government be restored to power.

Military personnel had used Facebook extensively to push propaganda against the Rohingya minority group amid a genocidal campaign beginning in 2017, prompting many to blame the company for enabling mass murder - a point underscored by a scathing United Nations report in 2018 that concluded Facebook played a key role in fomenting violence.

But on Thursday hundreds of supporters of the military marched through Myanmar's commercial hub Yangon carrying signs that said: "We stand with the defence services", referring to the junta.

At least one man was seriously injured, said doctor Thet Htay, who also treated four others.

The meeting was part of Marsudi's efforts to co-ordinate a regional response to the crisis triggered by the military takeover in Myanmar.

Facebook Inc. said Thursday that it has banned all pages linked to Myanmar's military as well as ads from military-linked companies, citing deadly violence following the February 1 coup.

In the biggest city, Yangon, riot police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and shots into the air to send protesters scattering.

"Today's events show who the terrorists are".

Indonesia is seeking to build an effort with neighboring countries to end the political crisis in Myanmar that began with a military coup on February 1.

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A rights group said as of Wednesday 728 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced in relation to the pro-democracy protests. Anti-coup demonstrations continued without incident across the city - students at Yangon University waved the signature red flags of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party while medical workers weaved through key junctions.

But Suu Kyi's party, which swept a November 8 election that the military says was marred by fraud, and its supporters want its victory recognised. The junta has promised a new election, but has not given a date.

Indonesia and others members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are hoping to convince Myanmar's military to take actions to ease tension in the country and avoid violence.

But Indonesia's intervention has raised suspicion among opponents of the coup in Myanmar who fear it will confer legitimacy on the junta and its bid to scrap the November election.

The minister, Retno Marsudi met Myanmar's military-appointed foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, for talks in the Thai capital earlier in the day.

The military has not given a time frame for a new election but it imposed a one-year state of emergency when it seized power so it would likely be after that.

Retno did not mention the issue of the election but said Indonesia emphasised "the importance of an inclusive democratic transition process".

The coup has been widely condemned outside Myanmar, prompting sanctions against the military and other punitive moves.

Reuters news agency reported this week that Indonesia had proposed sending ASEAN observers to make sure military leaders fulfill their promise to hold fair, new elections.

In recent years, Facebook has pushed back against Myanmar's military after drawing global criticism for not controlling online hate campaigns.

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