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Iran Press TV

Anti-coup activists in Myanmar expand demonstrations nationwide

Iran Press TV

Monday, 19 July 2021 3:13 PM

Anti-coup activists in Myanmar have expanded demonstrations nationwide, demanding the return to power of the democratically elected government.

The Monday protests coincided with a public holiday to commemorate slain independence heroes, including the father of the country's detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was assassinated alongside members of his cabinet on July 19, 1947.

Drivers in the largest city of Yangon blared their horns at 10:37 a.m., a tradition to mark the time the independence leaders were killed.

In Monywa, west of the city of Mandalay, anti-junta protesters chanted "Martyrs never die."

They also shouted slogans such as "We are going to wash our feet with the blood of war dogs," in a reference to soldiers.

Meanwhile in Meiktila in central Myanmar, angry demonstrators held banners and placards to pay tribute to four protesters who were killed in their district during recent demonstrations.

In Yangon, military authorities held a tightly controlled ceremony for Martyrs' Day at a mausoleum dedicated to Aung San, Suu Kyi's father and a national hero.

Last year, Suu Kyi laid a wreath at the same ceremony but this year the event was headed by the military-appointed Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture Ko Ko.

Myanmar has been gripped by turmoil since the military ousted Suu Kyi in a coup and detained her and several other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) Party on February 1.

The military justified its coup by accusing the NLD of manipulating the November elections to obtain a landslide victory.

Since then, Myanmar's military has been struggling to impose order.

Suu Kyi is on trial in the capital Naypyitaw over a range of charges. Her legal team rejects all of the charges.

More than 910 people have been killed and over 5,200 arrested, charged, or sentenced by military forces, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has urged the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to start a political dialogue with the contending parties in Myanmar with support from the international community.

Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday that ASEAN had agreed a five-point consensus in its meeting with the junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in April, "but unfortunately the Myanmar military leadership have shown little sign of abiding by it."

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