More anti-coup protesters arrested in Rakhine state

Three anti-coup protesters were arrested in the Rakhine state town of Tangup on Wednesday morning, as a crowd gathered outside the police station in Thandwe to demand the release of three other protesters arrested the day before.

In Taungup, around 20 people were taking part in a protest near the township’s football stadium early in the day when police arrived and arrested three of the protesters.

The move came less than a day after police broke up a much larger protest involving around 300 people in Thandwe, about 70km south of Taungup, on Tuesday afternoon.

The Thandwe protesters, who had been demonstrating against the February 1 military takeover for eight days, were engaged in a sitting protest after a major road they planned to use for an anti-coup march was blocked by police.

“We were sitting and protesting peacefully when two or three guys in plain clothes arrived with the township administrator and the police and started arresting people,” said one woman who took part in the Thandwe protest.

“At first, the plainclothes officers pretended they were just taking photos, but then they started pushing people into a police truck,” she added.

Three people—a 17-year-old girl, a student in his 20s, and a man in his thirties—were arrested, she said.

The protest had attracted people from many walks of life, including educators and healthcare workers, who chanted “May the dictatorship fall!” and urged others to join the nationwide civil disobedience movement led by striking public employees.

On Wednesday, a crowd gathered outside the Thandwe police station, where the three protesters are being held, to demand their immediate release.

“Everyone’s angry. They just arrested the three without saying anything beforehand,” said a protester who spoke to Myanmar Now.

Protests against the coup have continued throughout the country despite efforts by the authorities to stem growing resistance to the imposition of military rule.

In Rakhine state, demonstrations have taken place in the townships of Thandwe, Gwa, Taungup, Ann and Manaung.

In Ann township, five people have been reported arrested, while in Taungup, two members of the National League for Democracy, including former government minister Min Aung, were taken away for “security reasons” on February 9.

There have been few signs of overt opposition to military rule in the northern part of the state, where a conflict between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army has raged for the past two years.

Although clashes have eased in recent months, the strong military presence in the region will likely deter any attempt by local people to join in the nationwide effort to restore civilian rule.

Related Articles

Back to top button