Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in a video-link hearing and was struck with a third charge on Monday, as anti-coup protesters again rallied across the country in defiance of a crackdown by security forces that killed at least 18 people the previous one. day.
The 75-year-old looked healthy as she attended the court hearing in the capital, Naypyitaw, and asked to see her legal team, lawyer Min Min Soe told the agency Reuters press release.
The leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept the now-canceled elections last November, has not been seen in public since her detention on February 1, when the military seized power alleging a widespread electoral fraud.
Soon after, she was charged with illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and violating a natural disaster law by organizing a campaign rally during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, a third charge was added under a section of the colonial-era penal code prohibiting the publication of information that could “cause fear or alarm” or disrupt “public tranquility,” Min said. Min Soe.
The next hearing will take place on March 15.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse more than 300 protesters near the Sin Yay Twin bus stop on Insein Road in Yangon at 10:45 a.m. Protesters retreated north to the Butar Yone bus stop. Local residents help tear gas victims.#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/TESzaORqUu
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Khin Maung Zaw, the deposed chief’s second lawyer, said his legal team had not been able to speak to him before the hearing.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance in court came as police in Yangon fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters gathered at several locations around the city.
Many protesters wore hard hats, while those in the front lines wore makeshift shields to protect themselves from the security forces, who killed at least four people in Yangon and injured dozens. others the day before.
In Yangon’s Kyauktada County, a protester was seen blacking out security cameras, while in other parts of the city, protesters taped hundreds of photos of General Min Aung Hlaing to the ground, carrying the words: “Shame on you, dictator, we’ll never forgive you.”
Crowds also marched through Mandalay’s second city, while a live Facebook video showed a small crowd of protesters gathered on a street in Lashio, Shan state, chanting slogans as police marched towards them.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the February 1 coup, which ended the country’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule. It drew hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets for more than three weeks.
On Sunday, clashes broke out in various parts of the country and police opened fire on crowds in Yangon after tear gas and warning shots failed to eliminate protesters demanding the restoration of the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Some of the security forces belonged to units notorious for their severe repression against ethnic rebel groups.
The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners said at least 270 people were arrested on Sunday, out of a total of 1,132 who it said had been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup. Sunday’s arrests included a journalist, who was beaten in northern Myitkyina, Kachin state, according to local outlet The 74 Media.
Several journalists documenting attacks by security forces on Saturday were also arrested, including an Associated Press photographer in Yangon.
The United States led the global condemnation of Myanmar’s military rulers, imposing limited sanctions on the generals. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Sunday’s crackdown as “heinous,” while Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the military’s use of lethal force against its own people were “appalling”. Both called for a united response.
Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said it was clear that the military assaults on protesters would continue and the international community should step up its response.
He proposed a global arms embargo, more sanctions from more countries against those behind the coup, sanctions on military companies and a referral to the Security Council of the United States. UN before the International Criminal Court.
“Words of condemnation are welcome but insufficient. We have to act, ”Andrews said in a statement.
“The Myanmar nightmare unfolding before our eyes will get worse. The world must act. “