Defying deadly crackdown in Myanmar, crowds return to streets to protest coup

Police in Myanmar’s biggest city fired tear gas Monday at defiant crowds who returned to the streets to protest last month’s coup, despite reports that security forces had killed at least 18 people a day earlier.

The protesters in Yangon were chased as they tried to gather at their usual meeting spot at the Hledan Centre intersection. Demonstrators scattered and sought in vain to rinse the irritating gas from their eyes, but later regrouped.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came Feb. 1, the same day a newly elected parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party would have led that government, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials.

The army has levelled several charges against Suu Kyi — an apparent effort by the military to provide a legal veneer for her detention and potentially to bar her from running in the election the junta has promised to hold in one year. On Monday, Suu Kyi made a court appearance via video conference and was charged with two more offences, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters.

Since the takeover, a movement of protests in cities across the country has been growing — and the junta’s response has become increasingly violent.

Below are images of defiant crowds returning to the streets on Monday as well as others paying their respects to the victims of Sunday’s crackdown.

Using makeshift barricades, basic protective gear

Protesters wearing basic protective gear gather behind shields during the demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on Monday.

(STF/AFP/Getty Images)

This composite illustration shows protesters in hard hats, goggles and masks at the protest.

(STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators take shelter behind vehicles and a makeshift barricade, as riot police officers stand in front of them.

(Reuters)

Protesters blocked a street in Yangon with tires Monday.

(Reuters)

Clashing with police

Protesters disperse after police fired tear gas during the demonstration on Monday.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters take cover behind homemade shields.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tear gas and fire extinguisher gas float around protesters as they clash with riot police officers.

(Reuters)

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Sidewalk shrines erected

The United Nations said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded across Myanmar on Sunday.

At least five people are believed to have been killed yesterday in Yangon when police shot at protesters, who have remained nonviolent despite provocation from the security forces and pro-military counter-demonstrators.

People erected makeshift sidewalk shrines Monday at the spots where several of the victims were shot, including a makeshift altar for Nyi Nyi Htet Naing in Yangon on Monday, after he was killed yesterday.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters arrange abandoned flip-flops and other belongings next to a makeshift altar for teacher Tin Nwe Yi, who died yesterday.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

People attend the funeral of a woman who was shot dead yesterday while police were trying to disperse an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay.

(Reuters)

The body of a woman who was shot dead yesterday is seen inside an ambulance before her funeral in Mandalay.

(Reuters)

Credits belong to : www.cbc.ca

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