Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Myanmar in recent days to protest against the detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi
At least 27 people have been arrested in Myanmar amid the country’s biggest demonstrations in over a decade continuing, with the nation’s police force firing water cannons at the protesters to disperse the crowds.
Four straight days of protests have gone on after the 1st of February coup and detention of the country’s elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently being held on charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios.
A journalist with the Democratic Voice of Burma has said that he was among those who had been arrested as he filmed a rally and also claimed that people had been beaten.
This comes after Myanmar’s military has taken control of the Southeast Asian country after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other leading politicians and claiming that there were “huge discrepancies” in the nation’s election in November.
The large-scale protests taking place in several cities are being held in defiance of the new laws being imposed by Myanmar’s current military rulers that have effectively banned peaceful public protests in the regions of Mandalay and Yangon.
Rallies of more than five people have now been outlawed and an 8pm to 4am curfew has been put in place, but large crowds of people are still turning out to chant slogans and demonstrate their anger towards the new military rule.
Witnesses have reported water cannons being fired into crowds of protesters in Naypyidaw, Bago, Mandalay and Magway, where there have also been reports of three police officers trying to shield demonstrators.
Residents say that bridges connecting Yangon to the populous districts outside were shut early on Tuesday before being opened to some traffic.
Myanmar had been under military rule for almost half a century until a nominally civilian government was introduced in 2011.
Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won last November’s election in a landslide, but her opponent – and now junta leader – General Min Aung Hlaing has made unproven claims of electoral fraud.
On the 1st of February, the military blocked the new session of parliament from convening and detained Ms Suu Kyi, as well as other ruling party members.
This comes after the Kremlin accuses the United States of interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs after downplaying the scale of the weekend’s protests, when tens of thousands of Russian citizens rallied in support of the jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
Protesters are demanding that power be restored to the deposed government and have orchestrated a growing level of civil disobedience movements affecting hospitals, schools and government offices.
“The coup always comes into our thoughts, every time we eat, work and even during resting time,” said Yangon resident Khin Min Soe.
“We are so disappointed and so sad whenever we think about why this has befallen us again.”
Promises from the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to eventually hold a new election have since drawn scorn from the protesters.
In his first televised address as the unelected leader, he said that the junta would form a “true and disciplined democracy” that is different to previous eras of military rule which left Myanmar in isolation and poverty.