Thousands of anti-coup protesters marched in Myanmar on Sunday, calling for a “spring revolution” with the country in its fourth month under a military regime. Cities, rural areas, remote mountainous regions and even Myanmar’s rebel-controlled border territories have been in uproar since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup.
The junta has aimed to suppress dissent through a brutal crackdown that has seen mass arrests and an escalating death toll. As reported by AFP, demonstrations kicked off early in commercial hub Yangon as activists called for a show of force and a “spring revolution”. Youths gathered on a street corner before marching swiftly down the streets in a flash mob — dispersing soon after to avoid clashing with authorities. “To get democracy is our course!” they chanted, waving a three-finger salute of resistance. “To bring down the military dictatorship is our course!” Central Mandalay region saw hundreds take the streets led by monks in saffron-coloured robes, carrying the flag of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. In northern Shan state, youths carried a banner that read: “We cannot be ruled at all.”
By 10am, violence erupted in the state’s Hsipaw township, when security forces cracked down on protesters there, killing at least one. Bomb blasts also went off across different parts of the city in the morning. The explosions have been happening with increasing frequency in the former capital, and authorities have blamed it on “instigators”. So far, security forces have killed 759 civilians, according to the local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.