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  • well Large crowds have been gathering again on the streets of Myanmar's commercial capital, Yangon, as they protest against the military authorities who seized power just over two weeks ago.

  • A nationwide civil disobedience campaign has been underway since the overthrow of on Santucci is government people taking to the streets and civil servants also being urged to strike.

  • They hope that the turnout today will be the largest so far.

  • That's just a day after on Sans Souci herself appeared in court via video link to face a further charge this time of breaking national disaster law.

  • Let's speak to our South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head, who's been monitoring all this from the start.

  • Jonathan, it does look, I mean, that the latest pictures we've seen are off really vast numbers gathering.

  • But we do hear of confrontations with police is well.

  • There have been some David, nothing too serious.

  • Yet in other places, the police have been somewhat baffled by the tactics of the protest movement as people have basically parked their cars to block roads, pulled their bonnets up on, declaimed that their cars have broken down.

  • It's called the broken down car movement.

  • That's to block roads to try and stop people going to work and to stop the security forces from moving people in.

  • I've seen policeman arguing with people claiming that they can start their cars.

  • I mean, this is taking place in lots of different bits of Yangon itself, with very large numbers of people gathering right in the center of Yangon but in a least 18 to 20 other towns and cities to their big protests in nippy door, which is, of course, the military built capital, the stronghold of the current government on the heart of the civil service.

  • And this is all about trying toe stop government from functioning.

  • The civil disobedience movement has sort of evolved, and it's a lot more organized Now.

  • You can see signs of that and the way that people are sort of sorting themselves out as they come into the city to try to stop people from going to work and to show that they won't go to work in the hope of making, in a way, making the country ungovernable, at least making public services come to a halt on.

  • I think this big showdown today, which is a direct response to the news.

  • That nonsense uchi was somewhat secretly on hastily put on trial yesterday.

  • That's really sparked off a much bigger protest.

  • They want a big show of strength to show their feelings.

  • The military has constantly claimed that the reason for its coup was that the outgoing government lost its legitimacy because of its failure to investigate fraud on what the protesters showing is, Look, we all voted, for instance, UCI in huge numbers last November on We're going to come out and support her now that she's facing these rather ridiculous charges.

  • Yeah, I mean, in terms of numbers, though, Jonathan, it feels like it's not just a momentum.

  • It's almost like a tipping point, isn't it?

  • Which you wouldn't want to be a union not coming out in support of all the others?

  • Yeah, I think it will be.

  • There'll be a lot of pressure on people not to go toe work, and that's been the argument.

  • The military has tried to claim that the civil disobedience movement is being driven by intimidation.

  • I mean, that's not realistic.

  • There is strong pressure on people not to go toe work on.

  • I have no doubt there is some intimidation.

  • But the groundswell of anger about this coup, this sense of injustice is really what's driving people.

  • This is the 12th day they've done these protests.

  • It affects people's livelihood.

  • People are willing to sacrifice a great deal, including almost the collapse of health services in places because it was doctors and medical workers who started this idea of non cooperation with the military regime.

  • Banking services have almost stopped functions that people are running out of cash.

  • People are really going to suffer economically because of this protest, and yet the numbers are still very, very big on.

  • I think that's a real problem for the military government.

  • They've deployed a lot of soldiers, but you can't really try and corral protests when they don't have a central point of organization.

  • They're organized locally on when they break out in so many different places.

  • There's no real strategy strategy from the at the moment from the government about how to contain this, that feared violent crackdown that everyone keeps in mind because it's what the military is done in the past is much, much harder to do when you've got cameras everywhere.

  • All that all of this stuff being live streamed.

  • They haven't dared to shut down the Internet completely during the day, on where it's so fragmented as well.

  • It's a much more modern style of protest than we've seen in the past.

  • Okay, Jonathan, thanks very much indeed.

  • For that, the very latest there from Yangon in particular that James Rhoda Harbor is the head of the Myanmar team at the U.

  • N.

  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bangkok.

  • I spoke to him a short while ago.

  • In fact, we focused to start with on just what Jonathan was talking about the broken car protest using those stalled cars effectively to block roads.

  • What did you think of that?

  • Well, I think that it's a quite ingenious.

  • I think that the variety of ways that such a large, massive number of people, particularly coming from the grassroots, uh, they're different tactics in in peacefully demonstrating and expressing their their opinion have been, uh, really admirable.

  • Admirable is one word.

  • You must be anxious, presumably, that this cannot go on forever without the military taking a heavier hand.

  • Well, of course, you This military has a very long history of violent crackdowns and violent responses to public demonstration and thio quashing free expression.

  • So, yes, we're very deeply concerned about the way that things have been going in recent days.

  • The increasing resort to the use of force even if non lethal force it's still unacceptable, unlawful to use force against peaceful protests on Yet, Uh, despite that, the protests persist and they persist in their peaceful nature.

  • Right on Sans Souci appeared via video link for in court on Tuesday.

  • I guess your concerns there are that this is going to be a very long period of incarceration, even if it's about the court proceedings going ahead.

  • Well, of course, yes, we're We are very concerned and in some ways confused by the charges that have been, uh, leveled against the state councilor and the President.

  • Uh, I think that what we fear gets lost sometimes are the massive number of other people that have been detained during these last 2.5 weeks.

  • Uh, my team has at this point compiled a list of over 547 individuals that have been detained largely incommunicado on what that has meant is that they have no access to a lawyer.

  • In many cases, in almost all cases, uh, it's hard to know where they're being held.

  • The fear is that these may cease being unlawful detentions and become enforced.

  • Disappearances.

  • James, can I ask you the the what I might call the partial democratization of Myanmar?

  • The the electoral success of on Santucci the embracing of this country by the international community brought with it, of course, a tacit understanding that the military still had a very strong hand within the running of the country.

  • Where when you look at where we are today on the way this has emerged, was it a mist ake to buy that line?

  • Well, it's always hard to know for certain you know how to how to handle an analysis like that.

  • You know, looking backwards, you're you're always going to have 2020 hindsight.

  • I think one thing is clear, and that's that this current crisis is born of impunity.

well Large crowds have been gathering again on the streets of Myanmar's commercial capital, Yangon, as they protest against the military authorities who seized power just over two weeks ago.

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Roads blocked in Yangon as thousands protest Myanmar coup - BBC News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/17
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