After Myanmar's 'bloodiest' day of protests, Aung Suu Kyi hit with more charges
Ousted Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was slapped with two new criminal charges when she appeared in court via video link on Monday, a month after a military coup triggered relentless and massive protests. The military took charge on February 1 and declared a year-long state of emergency following a general election which Suu Kyi's NLD party won by a landslide. The armed forces had backed the opposition which was demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud. The election commission had said that there was no evidence to support these claims after which the coup took place.
Where is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Suu Kyi has been reportedly under house arrest in Naypyidaw, an isolated city that the military built during a previous dictatorship. She appeared in court via video-link on Monday. Suu Kyi is facing obscure criminal charges for possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, as well as violating coronavirus restrictions by staging a campaign event during last year's election. She is now also accused of a violation of communications laws as well as intent to incite public unrest. Many other NLD officials have also been detained.
What about the protests in Myanmar?
On Sunday, Myanmar saw the biggest escalation in the protests in which at least 18 people died as troops and police fired live bullets at demonstrators in cities across Myanmar, according to the United Nations. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to streets regularly over the past month to oppose the coup. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a reliable monitoring group, estimated that about 30 people had been killed by security forces since the coup on February 1. More than 1,100 people have been arrested, charged, or sentenced since the coup, according to The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
How has the world reacted?
Several world leaders and the United Nations have condemned the violence in the country. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable.” UN special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener described the situation as “very dangerous”.
"We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, said.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken also reacted to the violence on Sunday. “We condemn the Burmese security forces' abhorrent violence against the people of Burma & will continue to promote accountability for those responsible,” Blinken tweeted.
(With agency inputs)