Published On: Mon, Feb 15th, 2021
Published in Category: Elections

Myanmar Coup: Fear and defiance at night-time arrests

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Islamabad: People in Myanmar are reacting with defiance as authorities use night-time raids to arrest opponents of the military coup.

Video footage showed people banging pots and pans to warn their neighbours of approaching security forces.

Mass protests have taken place since the military seized control of the South East Asian country on 1 February.

The army announced on Saturday that arrest warrants had been issued for seven prominent opposition campaigners.

They are wanted under the rarely used charge of “disturbing tranquillity”. One of them, Min Ko Naing, was one of the student leaders involved in the failed 1988 uprising against the then-military dictator. He has appeared in a social media video denouncing the use of night-time raids to make arrests.

The United Nations human rights office said on Friday that more than 350 people had been arrested since the coup.

The country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is under house arrest.

The military on Saturday also suspended laws requiring court orders for detaining people longer than 24 hours and for searching private property.

According to an international news agency, people in Myanmar were feeling “extremely insecure, anxious and uncertain about what will happen next”.

“Sleepless nights are becoming common here in Myanmar. Security forces are raiding people’s residences in many places across the country and trying to arrest those who are against the military junta. People are protecting each other, staying up late at night, ” agency claimed.

In the country’s biggest city, Yangon, footage showed people chanting and alerting neighbours as security vehicles approached. In a video shared with Reuters news agency, crowds could be seen surrounding and marching alongside police vehicles.

The videographer told the news agency the crowd had at least once made the police turn back from driving in the direction of West Yangon Hospital.

Other footage showed people gathering in Yangon to demand the release of a teacher who had reportedly been detained, and banging pots and pans when they thought police units were conducting raids to arrest people.

As people took to the streets for the eighth consecutive day on Saturday, protesters chanted: “Stop arresting people at night-time.”