YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar filed a new charge in opposition to ousted chief Aung San Suu Kyi, her lawyer stated Tuesday, in a transfer which will permit her to be held indefinitely with out trial as a part of an intensifying crackdown by authorities who seized energy in a coup.
Suu Kyi, who was deposed and detained within the navy takeover on Feb. 1, already confronted a charge of illegally possessing walkie-talkies — an obvious try to offer a authorized veneer for her home arrest. Underneath the new charge, she is accused of breaking a legislation that has been used to prosecute individuals who have violated coronavirus restrictions, lawyer Khin Maung Zaw instructed reporters after assembly with a decide in a courtroom within the capital, Naypyitaw.
It carries a most punishment of three years in jail. However, maybe extra worryingly, due to modifications to the Penal Code instituted by the junta final week, it may permit her to be detained indefinitely, even with out a courtroom’s permission. Suu Kyi’s lawyer instructed reporters he has not seen her since her arrest — and solely arrived after an sudden videoconference the decide stated had been held together with her.
The authorized maneuver comes two weeks after the navy seized energy in a coup that shocked many within the worldwide group who had been hopeful that Myanmar was taking steps towards democracy. Since then, the junta has ratcheted up the stress on protesters resisting the takeover, together with violently breaking apart some demonstrations and blocking web entry.
On Monday, safety forces pointed weapons at a bunch of 1,000 demonstrators and attacked them with slingshots and sticks within the metropolis of Mandalay. Native media reported that police additionally fired rubber bullets right into a crowd and that a number of folks have been injured.
Protests continued Tuesday in Yangon, the nation’s largest metropolis and elsewhere. In Yangon, police blocked off the road in entrance of the Central Financial institution, which protesters have focused amid hypothesis on-line that the navy is in search of to grab cash from it. Buddhist monks demonstrated outdoors the UN’s native workplace within the metropolis.
Round 3,000 demonstrators — primarily college students — returned to the streets of Mandalay, carrying posters of Suu Kyi and shouting for the return of democracy.
The protests are going down in defiance of an order banning gatherings of 5 or extra folks. However the safety presence was low-key across the march after Monday’s confrontations.
State media have been acknowledging the protest motion solely not directly. The International New Mild of Myanmar newspaper reported a few assembly of the State Administration Council, the new high governing physique and quoted its chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, saying the authorities “are dealing with the continuing issues with care.”
It stated the council mentioned taking authorized motion in opposition to protesters and offering “true data” to the media. On Sunday and Monday nights, the navy ordered an web blackout — nearly completely blocking on-line entry. As soon as earlier than in current weeks it imposed the same blackout and has additionally tried much less efficiently to dam social media platforms. It has additionally ready a draft legislation that may criminalize many on-line actions.
Whereas the navy didn’t say why the web was blocked, there may be widespread hypothesis that the federal government is putting in a firewall system to permit it to watch or block most or all on-line exercise.
The International New Mild of Myanmar newspaper additionally reported that council members mentioned performing in opposition to a “parallel authorities” established by some elected lawmakers of Suu Kyi’s Nationwide League for Democracy celebration, who have been prevented from taking their seats when the navy stopped Parliament from opening its session Feb. 1.
Within the days following the takeover, members of Suu Kyi’s celebration shaped a committee, declaring themselves the true representatives of Myanmar’s folks and asking for worldwide recognition. No such recognition has come, even as the USA and different governments have condemned the coup and urged the navy to return energy to the elected authorities and launch Suu Kyi and different detainees.
Neighboring China, in the meantime, has to this point not condemned the takeover. Some protesters have accused Beijing — which has lengthy been Myanmar’s primary arms provider and has main investments within the nation — of propping up the junta.
China’s ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation responded to these accusations, noting that Beijing has pleasant relations with each Suu Kyi’s celebration and the navy, based on the textual content of an interview posted on the embassy’s Fb web page Tuesday. Chen Hai stated he wished the 2 sides may clear up their variations by dialogue.
Within the interview, Chen additionally addressed what he stated have been rumors that China was serving to Myanmar to manage its web visitors and others that Chinese language troopers have been displaying up on the Myanmar’s streets.
“For the file, these are utterly nonsense and even ridiculous accusations,” Chen stated.
The navy contends there was fraud in final 12 months’s election, which Suu Kyi’s celebration gained in a landslide and says it should maintain energy for a 12 months earlier than holding new elections. The state election fee discovered no proof to assist the claims of fraud.