Military deploys armoured vehicles in major cities of Myanmar

World Monday 15/February/2021 16:48 PM
By: DW
Military deploys armoured vehicles in major cities of Myanmar

Naypyitaw: Security forces in Myanmar deployed extra troops and armoured vehicles around the country on Monday after cutting off access to the nation's Internet.

The military has continuously ramped up its efforts to quell nationwide demonstrations, as protesters, who demand the release of Suu Kyi, refuse to step down.

Meanwhile, the detention of Myanmar's former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been extended until Wednesday, as opposed to Monday, as previously thought, her lawyer said.

What's the latest?
Extra troops were seen in key locations of Yangon, the nation's commercial hub and biggest city, including armored personnel carriers near the central bank. Demonstrators still took to the streets on Monday despite the military presence.

Suu Kyi's detention was due to expire on Monday, but her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, said that a judge at a court in the capital, Naypyitaw, said she was remanded until February 17.

"Whether it is fair or not, you can decide yourself," Khin Maung Zaw said. A member of the lawyer's team said the judge had spoken with Suu Kyi via video chat, and she had asked if she could hire a lawyer.

Suu Kyi's extended detention is likely to raise tensions between the military, which seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, and demonstrators. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to denounce the coup and call for a return to the government that they elected.

Suu Kyi had been expected to face a court on Monday in connection with charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios, her lawyer said.

On Monday, thousands protested in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs that said "Free our leader,"

"Who stands with justice?" and "Stop arresting people illegally at midnight.

In Yangon, however, fewer protesters gathered than in Mandalay, due to Monday morning's internet cuts and reports of armored vehicles on the streets. Internet access was mostly restored around 9am local time, residents reported.

Protesters in Yangon were met with military trucks full of troops, riot police, water-cannon trucks and armoured personnel carriers.

'A fight for the future'
They also carried signs that read "#SupportCDM" and "#SaveMyanmar." CDM refers to the civil disobedience movement under which doctors, engineers and others in Myanmar strike to push the military to release elected leaders and return the country to civilian rule.

"This is a fight for our future, the future of our country," youth activist Esther Ze Naw told Reuters at a protest in Yangon. "We don't want to live under a military dictatorship. We want to establish a real federal union where all citizens, all ethnicities are treated equally."

Meanwhile, police in Naypyitaw detained about 20 high-school students protesting by a road. "Remember, we don't swear at the police and don't sign anything at the police station," one student could be heard saying.