Thousands of anti-military protesters gather in Myanmar after bloody clashes

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Thousands of opponents of Myanmar’s Feb. 1 military gathered again on Sunday in towns from north to south, undeterred by the bloodiest episode of their campaign the previous day when police and soldiers opened fire in the city of Mandalay, killing two.

Early on Sunday, police arrested a famous actor wanted for supporting opposition to the coup, his wife said, while Facebook deleted the military’s main page under its standards prohibiting the incitement of violence.

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The military has been unable to quell the demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the coup and the detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others, even with a promise of a new election, arrests and warnings against dissent.

In the main city of Yangon, several thousand young people gathered at two sites to chant slogans, while hundreds massed peacefully in the second city of Mandalay, footage shown by a media outlet showed.

A slogan is written on a street as a protest after the coup in Yangon. (Reuters)
A slogan is written on a street as a protest after the coup in Yangon. (Reuters)

In Myitkyina town in the north, which has seen confrontations in recent days, people laid flowers for the dead protesters while young people with banners drove around on motorbikes.

Crowds marched in the central towns of Monywa and Bagan and in Dawei and Myeik in the south, posted pictures showed.

“They aimed at the heads of unarmed civilians. They aimed at our future,” a young protester in Mandalay told the crowd.

Protest against the military coup, in Myitkyina. (Reuters)
Protest against the military coup, in Myitkyina. (Reuters)

Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun, who is also the spokesman for the new military council, has not responded to attempts by Reuters to contact him by telephone for comment.

He told a news conference on Tuesday the army’s actions were within the constitution and supported by most people, and he blamed protesters for instigating violence.

The more than two weeks of protests had been largely peaceful, unlike previous episodes of opposition during nearly half a century of direct military rule to 2011.

Read more:

Myanmar police arrest actor for supporting opposition after two killed in protests

Myanmar police fire live rounds to disperse protests, at least one killed

France condemns Myanmar security forces’ violence against peaceful demonstrators

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