We're Live Bangla Sunday, September 19, 2021

Myanmar protesters urge central bankers to boycott junta

Suu Kyi's Detention Extended; Military Tightens Grip By Deploying Soldiers

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Protesters against the military coup in Myanmar marched on the country's streets Monday for a 10th day, while the army deployed armored vehicles and soldiers in major cities to tighten the junta's grip on power. Protesters also gathered around the central bank, asking people to join a boycott of the military leadership.

While tensions rise, the lawyer for ousted de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she would remain in detention at least until Wednesday.

The junta apparently searched the headquarters of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party on Monday. In the afternoon, police barricaded the roads surrounding the building. Two military trucks and soldiers also were spotted there.

In Yangon, the 77th Light Infantry Division was deployed, a section of the army known to the public for brutality in fighting local ethnic groups. According to Reuters, the unit also was deployed in the crackdown against a pro-democracy movement in 2007.

Protesters gathered in numerous places around Yangon, the largest city. In front of the central bank, participants called for bank employees to join the civil disobedience movement. Many people who work for private banks have already joined the boycott, forcing branch operations to halt.

Protesters also urged soldiers on the streets to join the demonstrations. Across Myanmar, many civil servants and doctors at public hospitals have joined the boycott and stopped work. In response, the military on Saturday ordered civil servants to return to work.

In the capital, Naypyitaw, and other major cities, the military on Monday deployed vehicles and soldiers on main roads and at government facilities. The military said Sunday night that "the army, police and fire departments will work together to assume responsibility for maintaining security." The military seems to be planning a shift in responsibility for maintaining public order away from the police and into its own hands.

According to Reuters, police in Naypyitaw have detained about 20 high school students who were protesting. The junta said Saturday night that the authorities could arrest citizens without the approval of a court.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi's lawyer told reporters in Naypyitaw on Monday that a judge informed him that the ousted leader's detention was now due to last until Wednesday. Suu Kyi is being prosecuted on charges of illegally importing walkie-talkies. The NLD previously explained that her detention was to end Monday.

On Sunday, police issued a list of seven wanted people who had supported the civil disobedience movement, including Min Ko Naing, a prominent activist who was a key figure in the 1988 democracy movement.

The junta appears determined to end the demonstrations. In the northern city of Myitkyina, security forces used water trucks and tear gas to remove demonstrators on Sunday. Also, a video posted on social media showed citizens fleeing following sounds of gunfire.

The army shut down the internet nationwide from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday.

Foreign embassies in Myanmar, including those of the U.S. and European Union member states, issued a joint statement Sunday saying they "unequivocally condemn the detention of political leaders, social activists and civil servants" and called for an end to violence against protesters.