JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Myanmar Monday in the biggest public demonstration of resistance to military rule since 1988. Dubbed the “22222 Revolution” in reference to its date – 22/2/2021 – the country went on a general strike in response to the killing of protesters by the military in Mandalay on Saturday. In Mandalay itself massive crowds of students, university workers and others gathered calling for the restoration of democracy and human rights, but there were no reports of violence by soldiers or police. Police did arrest protestors in one incident in the official capital, Nay Pyi Taw, where over 100 mostly young people, including girls, were taken into custody. Law students reporting for JURIST in Myanmar say that they were taken to the notorious Yamathin Prison nearby but are now slated to be released after discussions with lawyers.
Our correspondents also report that in Mandalay some 80 people have now been charged in connection with their participation in Saturday’s protests under sections 134, 148, 152 and 505(b) of the Myanmar penal code. Lawyers in Mandalay have said they will defend those charged at no cost.
International pressure on the military junta that deposed the Myanmar civilian government in a coup on February 1 continues. The US, UK and European Union have all called for the restoration of the civilian authorities and an end to violence and human rights abuses by the military. Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains in military detention, charged with two rival offences. Her trial began in secret last week.