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After Myanmar police used brutality against protesters, protesters changed their tactics.



After Myanmar police used brutality against protesters, protesters changed their tactics.
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After Myanmar police used brutality against protesters, protesters changed their tactics.


Protesters in Myanmar against the military takeover wore improvised shields and marched with greater caution and agility on Tuesday, adapting their methods to the escalating brutality from security forces who are not afraid to use deadly force to disperse crowds.

Approximately a thousand demonstrators took to the streets in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest district, with those in the vanguard wielding shields bearing the movement’s defiance sign, the three-finger salute. To prevent a clash with riot police, they marched for just a few minutes before dispersing. Another party staged a mobile demonstration by riding their motorcycles through the streets.

Water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets have been used often by security forces to disperse protesters, but they have also fired live ammunition at crowds. More than 60 demonstrators have died as a result of the crackdown, which has failed to quell widespread demonstrations against the Feb. 1 coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.

According to media reports and an activist who knew him, a school principal participating in the protest movement died Tuesday of unknown causes after being taken into custody by security forces.

Zaw Myat Lin’s death in detention was the second in as many days. He was a supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

The deaths of Zaw Myat Lin and Khin Maung Latt, a party activist detained on Saturday night whose body was recovered the next day from a military hospital, have sparked concerns about whether the government is torturing and killing detainees. According to Human Rights Watch in New York, witnesses said Khin Maung Latt’s body had wounds consistent with torture.

According to the Voice of Myanmar online news service and other newspapers, Zaw Myat Lin was arrested Monday night while attempting to flee a police raid.

Zaw Myat Lin’s family was summoned to recover his body on Tuesday, according to Maung Saungkha, an activist and associate of Zaw Myat Lin.

The dangers of the night have become more pronounced. Police and army units patrol neighbourhoods on a regular basis, firing at random to harass people and make targeted arrests.

More than 1,930 people have been detained in connection with the coup, according to the Myanmar-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Several journalists have been detained, including Thein Zaw of The Associated Press, who has been charged with violating a public order statute that carries a three-year prison sentence.

According to local news outlets and social media, protest marches were held Tuesday in cities and towns around the country, in what has become a regular occurrence.

Protests took place in Ye, a town in southern Myanmar’s Mon State; Kyaukpadaung, a town in central Myanmar; Mohnyin, a town in Kachin State’s north; and Myeik Taung, in the southeast. In each case, the authorities are said to have used coercion.

On Monday, armed police patrolled the streets at night, shouting threats, shooting at houses, and making targeted arrests in an apparent attempt to instill fear and undermine resistance to the army’s takeover.

More than 20 police officers swarm down a street, around a corner, and then open fire in a district of Yangon, the country’s largest city, according to a video taken Monday night. They reappeared, pointing up at a window or balcony that overlooked them, and opened fire once more.

Their activities come on the heels of a dramatic night in which thousands of people defied the city’s curfew of 8 p.m. to express solidarity for demonstrators who were trapped by police in a small area of town. They came out of their houses, sang anti-coup songs, and banged pots, pans, and other kitchen implements together, partially in the hope of distracting police from the 200-strong crowd of demonstrators being pursued.

Several dozen people who had sought refuge in the city’s Sanchaung neighborhood were arrested, according to witnesses, but others returned home at dawn, several hours after police had left the area.

Authorities raided the offices of Kamayut Media on Tuesday, detaining Han Thar Nyein, the company’s co-founder, and Nathan Maung, the company’s editor-in-chief. On the company’s YouTube page, you can see some of its protest coverage.

According to witnesses, seven military vehicles were involved in the attack, which took away office materials and equipment as well as the two men, according to a member of Han Thar’s family. The family member had no idea where the men had gone.

Before joining the media firm, Maung studied film and video production as well as political science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Mizzima News’ offices were also searched by the military. Despite the fact that equipment was vandalized and property was taken away, no one was arrested during the raid.

The military government placed a significant restriction on media coverage of the crisis on Monday. Five local media outlets — Mizzima, DVB, Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now, and 7Day News — had their licenses revoked, according to the announcement.

All five had been covering the demonstrations extensively, mostly with livestreaming footage on the internet. Authorities raided Myanmar Now’s offices on Monday, just before the measure was revealed.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, or DVB, said it was unsurprised by the cancellation and that it would continue to broadcast on satellite TV and online.

“We are concerned about the safety of our reporters and staff, but in the current uprising, the entire country has become citizen journalists, and military authorities have no way of stopping the flow of information,” Executive Director Aye Chan Naing told the Associated Press.

The license cancellations were condemned by the International Press Institute, which promotes press freedom.

In a statement, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said, “Revoking the licenses of independent media outlets that have been providing critical information about ongoing events in the country is a punitive move that amounts to direct censorship and violates fundamental rights and international standards, to which Myanmar has committed.”

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