WRAPUP 5-Myanmar’s anti-coup protesters defy crackdown with humor

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WRAPUP 5-Myanmar's anti-coup protesters defy crackdown with humor

(Updates with details of the protests, comment from the Prime Minister of Thailand, details of an injured woman, UN human rights investigator)

* Woman shot to head in Tuesday protests likely to die – doctor

* The demonstrations continue, some taking on a festive air

* UN condemns disproportionate use of force against demonstrations

* US says review aid to Myanmar

February 10 (Reuters) – Protesters returned to the streets of Myanmar on Wednesday despite the shooting of a young woman the day before, with a bit of humor to underline their peaceful opposition to this month’s military takeover.

Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, 19, was the first known serious victim of the protests and she has rallied her support for the movement seeking to overthrow the February 1 coup and free elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her allies from detention.

“We cannot remain silent,” youth leader Esther Ze Naw told Reuters. “If there is blood spilled during our peaceful protests, there will be more if we let them take control of the country.”

No violence was reported on Wednesday and in many places the protests took on a festive air, with shirtless bodybuilders, women in ball gowns and wedding dresses, farmers in tractors and people with their pets. Some have set up a protest line in inflatable rubber tubs. protests joined in the main city of Yangon, while in the capital, Naypyitaw, hundreds of officials marched in support of a growing campaign of civil disobedience.

A group of police officers from eastern Kayah state marched in uniform with a sign saying “We don’t want a dictatorship”, according to media footage.

Earlier, soldiers took over a clinic that was treating injured protesters in Naypyitaw on Tuesday, a doctor said.

The teenager was shot dead when police fired, mostly in the air, to free the protesters. Her brother, Ye Htut Aung, told Reuters that the family – although supporting the protests – had urged her not to go, but she insisted. The army’s True News news unit said in a statement that the security forces were only using non-lethal weapons and the police were investigating. He said two policemen were injured by the “rioters” and were in hospital.

Protesters draped a large portrait of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing from a bridge in Yangon. A doctor at the hospital where she was being treated told Reuters she is unlikely to survive.

Human Rights Watch said a 20-year-old man also injured by a bullet was in stable condition, while medics said three others were being treated for injuries from suspected rubber bullets.

Protesters were also injured in Mandalay and other towns, where security forces used water cannons and arrested dozens. State television said four police officers were also injured by protesters throwing stones.

‘DISPROPORTIONAL FORCE’

The protests are the largest in Myanmar for more than a decade, rekindling memories of nearly half a century of direct military rule and spasms of bloody uprisings until the military began to give up to some power in 2011.

The military, which has imposed restrictions on gatherings and a nighttime curfew in larger cities, justified its takeover by fraud in a Nov. 8 election that Suu Kyi’s NLD party won by a landslide. The electoral commission rejected the army’s complaints.

Western countries have condemned the coup but have taken little concrete action to push for the restoration of democracy.

The US State Department has said it is reviewing aid to Myanmar to ensure those responsible for the coup face “significant consequences.” Human rights investigator Thomas Andrews has expressed concern over the use of lethal force.

“Myanmar military personnel and police must know that ‘following orders’ is not a defense to commit atrocities and that such a defense will fail regardless of their place in the chain of command,” he said. -he declares.

He said “hundreds of arbitrary detentions” have been recorded since the coup. The main UN human rights body is expected to consider a resolution on Friday condemning the coup in Myanmar and demanding urgent access, a text said. Paliwal, senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, said Myanmar would not be as isolated today as it was in the past, China, India, with neighbors in Southeast Asia and Japan unlikely to sever ties.

“The country is too geostrategically important for this to happen. The United States and other Western countries will impose sanctions – but this coup and its ramifications will be an Asian story, not a Western one,” Paliwal said.

Highlighting this Asian position, the Prime Minister of neighboring Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha, himself a former army chief who seized power in a 2014 coup, said he had received a letter from the new head of the Burmese junta, army chief Min Aung Hlaing, asking to help support democracy.

“Thailand supports the democratic process. The rest is up to them how to do it,” Prayuth said.

Suu Kyi, 75, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for campaigning for democracy and remains extremely popular in her country despite damage to her international reputation due to the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

She spent nearly 15 years under house arrest and now faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkies and her lawyer said he was not allowed to see her.

‘That was her mind’: Burmese teenager shot dead by police determined to protest coup

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