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In the face of a deadly crackdown, Myanmarese demonstrators refuse to give up.

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In the face of a deadly crackdown, Myanmar demonstrators refuse to give up.
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In the face of a deadly crackdown, Myanmar demonstrators refuse to give up.

In the face of a deadly crackdown, Myanmar demonstrators refuse to give up.

 

Protesters in Myanmar against the military takeover were defiant on Wednesday as the death toll from the deadly crackdown on peaceful protests rose.

According to a tally compiled by the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the confirmed death toll among demonstrators since the Feb. 1 coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government has now surpassed 200.

“Junta forces use sniper rifles to attack protesters as well as ordinary citizens, regardless of time or place,” the organization reported.

“Some wounded people were arrested and died without access to medical attention, some people died as a result of torture during interrogation, and some people who were shot dead in a crackdown were dragged away without mercy by junta forces, and their dead bodies are not being returned to their families,” it added, repeating widespread and credible allegations.

According to the group, in addition to the 202 deaths, 2,181 people had been arrested or charged as of Tuesday, with 1,862 either being held or pursued.

The coup put an end to years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which had been under strict military rule for five decades, leading to international isolation and sanctions.

New peaceful protest marches were registered Wednesday in Taungoo, Thayet, Myingyan, and Madaya, all in central Myanmar; Tamu, near the Indian border; and Pyay, on the Irrawaddy River northwest of Yangon, according to regional media outlets and social media posts.

There were also recent accounts of a novel protest strategy called “non-human attacks,” which includes lining up rows of signboards in public streets to serve as substitutes for human demonstrators. Pyinmana, a satellite town of the capital Naypyitaw, and Naungcho, a town in Shan State in north-central Myanmar, both held such protests on Wednesday. Protesters in Yangon’s Kyeemyindine township put a new twist on the technique, substituting coconuts for citizens and painting the words “Spring Revolution” in Burmese word for word.

On Tuesday night, police in several Yangon neighbourhoods continued their violent operations, shooting into the air, assaulting several residents, and raiding the homes of alleged demonstrators. They also demolished barricades erected by demonstrators on Wednesday morning.

The scale of Wednesday’s protests in Yangon was difficult to assess, as the government tightened communications restrictions, restricting access to timely information.

On Sunday, the government ordered the shutdown of mobile internet data services. Wi-Fi connectivity has been left on, but some users indicated that it has slowed to a crawl, making it difficult to upload images and video on Wednesday.

Since Monday, many neighbourhoods in Yangon have been under martial law, placing them fully under military rule and making it impossible for protesters to organize and interact.

Dr. Sasa, a leading figure in the resistance movement, has been charged with high treason, which carries a death penalty, according to state television MRTV.

Sasa, a Chin ethnic minority medical doctor, was named a special United Nations envoy by the Committee Representing Pyihtaungsu Hluttaw, which is made up of elected members of Parliament who were not invited to take their seats.

The CRPH has formed itself as a shadow government that claims to be Myanmar’s sole legitimate representative body, operating underground within the country and with members abroad. The junta called it an unconstitutional treasonous body.

Sasa is accused of inciting civil strife and acting in opposition to the junta, which claims to be the country’s only legitimate ruler after ousting an elected government.

“Treason against the junta means that I am standing with the people of Myanmar, giving my life for their independence, federal democracy, and justice,” Sasa said, adding that he was proud to be charged with treason.

His statement, which was posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday, detailed the Myanmar military’s long history of atrocities against ethnic minorities and the repression of previous protest movements, as well as the killings of civilians following last month’s coup.

“Every day, it is these Generals who commit acts of treason. Taking what they want for themselves, depriving people of their rights, and oppressing those who oppose them,” Sasa explained.

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