Protesters in Rangoon, Myanmar’s largest city, took to the streets on Tuesday in defiance of army warnings to take action against large gatherings, while police in the capital Naypyidaw used water cannons to disperse the protesters.
Since the army carried out a military coup on February 1 and ousted the civilian ruler, Aung San Suu Kyi, a wave of demonstrations condemning the coup has swept the country, and hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in protest.
In Naypyidaw, police used water cannons against protesters, according to social media.
Despite the water cannons, the protesters continued to move, chanting, “Down with the military dictatorship.”
On Monday, the army issued a firm warning on state television, pledging to “take steps against violations that confuse, prevent and destroy the stability of the state.”
It banned demonstrations and gatherings of more than five people, and imposed a curfew from 20:00 to 4:00 local time, especially in the areas of San Chung and Kamayot, near Rangoon, which are among the most prominent hot spots where demonstrators gather.
In San Chung, about 200 teachers defied orders Tuesday and marched with signs saying “We are teachers, we want justice” as they waved the three-toed salute they borrowed from pro-democracy demonstrations across Asia.
Demonstrators chanted, “Free Aung San Suu Kyi” and “Down with the military dictatorship” as they crossed the main street in the neighborhood, as drivers of passing cars blew their horns in support of the demonstrators.
Another crowd gathered in the area in front of the headquarters of the National League for Democracy Party, wearing the red color symbolizing the party’s logo and holding pictures of Suu Kyi, demanding the army to release her.
The Myanmar army carried out a coup earlier this month, in response to what it described as the rigging of the November elections, in which the National League for Democracy, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, won by an overwhelming majority. The army arrested each of the country’s president, his advisor, and other leaders, imposed a state of emergency, and announced the handover of power to the commander-in-chief of the army.