Opponents of the military junta in power for more than five months in Myanmar took to the streets of Yangon, this Wednesday (7), to commemorate the anniversary of student demonstrations in 1962 against the first coup d’état by the Burmese army.
Since the new coup last Feb. 1, which deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the country has been mired in demonstrations, strikes and other forms of protest, despite a bloody crackdown that has left nearly 900 dead, according to an NGO local.
The economy is in free fall, thousands of civil servants and medical personnel are on strike, and covid-19 cases are on the rise in this country, one of the poorest in Asia.
Around 100 people took part in a lightning rally earlier this Wednesday on the streets of Yangon, the country’s economic heartland. The reason: to remember the anniversary of the protests at the university in that city, on July 7, 1962, against a first coup d’état by the Burmese army, according to AFP journalists.
The brutal repression launched by the army after this coup left hundreds dead and thousands missing. Now, many claim that history repeats itself seven decades later.
“We’re going to end the fascist army,” the protesters shouted, as some blasted smoke grenades.
“Let’s keep the spirit of the 7th of July and fight the military dictatorship”, they shouted before fleeing two minutes later in front of the arrival of the police.
Dozens of people also demonstrated in the country’s second city Mandalay, as well as in Sagaing (centre), where they burned an army flag, according to images released by local media.
Since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948, Myanmar has been under military control almost permanently, except for a short period.
After the commitment to political and economic reform adopted in the wake of the junta’s self-dissolution in 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (LND) won the 2015 and 2020 elections.
The army justified last February’s coup by claiming that there was fraud in the November 2020 legislative elections.
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