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Myanmar authorities signal crackdown as 100,000 demonstrate

YANGON

Myanmar authorities appeared to signal an impending crackdown on demonstrations Monday as well over 100,000 people, the most since a 2007 uprising, protested in Yangon and elsewhere against last week’s military coup and leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention.

As nationwide protests continued for a third day, state TV said in an announcement that “some groups of people are abusing the democratic rights and forcing, disturbing or threatening others unlawfully” and called for “discipline.”

“Actions amounting to disturbing stability, rule of law and public danger shall be stopped effectively, according to the law,” it warned, while urging cooperation to “top and remove those violators of the law.”

Police used water cannon against people who were protesting the one-week-old coup in the capital Naypyitaw A video posted on social media showed a man left injured and bleeding after the high-pressure water hit him.

Among those who protested Monday were a group of monks, who hold a large influence in forming public opinion in the predominantly Buddhist country.

In the nation’s largest city Yangon, tensions ran high from the morning as police deployed water cannon-mounted vehicles outside City Hall. Protesters marched on the streets, with some holding pictures of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

They chanted such slogans as “Bring back democracy” and “Release our leaders.”

In the capital, people on motorcycles occupied a road and shouted calls for an end to military rule. Similar protests were also held in the second-largest city Mandalay and the central Bago region, as well as in eastern Mon State and northern Kachin State.

In Yangon, over 1,000 people protested Saturday, with their numbers swelling to tens of thousands the following day.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi’s lawyer said he has yet to be able to see or talk to her, with investigative authorities denying access citing a continuing investigation. She was charged Wednesday for allegedly using illegally imported communications equipment.

She can be held until Feb. 15.

Along with Suu Kyi, the nation’s ousted president and fellow party leader, Win Myint, has been charged and can also be detained until Feb. 15. He is alleged to have violated coronavirus restrictions.

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