At least 30 protesters arrested during crackdown on Mandalay anti-coup rally

Police and soldiers broke up an anti-dictatorship march in Mandalay’s Pyigyidagun Township on Wednesday, arresting at least 30 people just as they had started to rally, according to protesters who were at the scene. 

Despite continued crackdowns by the junta’s armed forces, residents of Mandalay have gathered every morning for around three months to protest the February 1 military coup that ousted Myanmar’s elected government. 

Driving motorbikes and unmarked vans, troops broke up Wednesday’s rally at 118th St, near the intersection of 72nd and 73rd streets, protesters who managed to flee the assault told Myanmar Now. 

“They were opening fire right in front of me so I had to run for my life,” one protester said on the condition of anonymity. “I was able to escape but my new motorbike was taken [by the soldiers],” the individual added. 

The armed forces seized an estimated 60 motorbikes or more, including those parked at a market near the protest site, hauling them off in five trucks, the protester said. 

“They even stole motorcycles in the market from people who weren’t even protesters. They blocked the entire ward and they’re checking everywhere. There’s a lot of them,” the protester told Myanmar Now. 

Some teachers participating in the rally were beaten and among those arrested on Wednesday, according to Pyigyidagun residents.

Eyewitnesses speculated that at least some of those arrested had been wounded in the crackdown, but Myanmar Now was unable to verify this information. 

On May 2, protesters in Mandalay’s Mya Taung protest column were forcibly dispersed by troops as they were about to start a march. They arrested four civilians and stole seven motorbikes in that crackdown.

Participants in the main anti-coup rally held daily in Mandalay include the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, as well as teachers, labourers, farmers, students from Mandalay University, high school students and alumni, and residents from the city’s Sein Pan ward. 


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