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New pro-democracy protests in Burma after a murderous day

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                The death of several people on the sidelines of the demonstrations organized Thursday against the power in Burma did not discourage the protesters, who returned to the streets early Friday, especially in Yangon and Mandalay.  A fire finally brought under control broke out at the party headquarters of the former head of the civilian government, Aung San Suu Kyi.

                                    <p>New rallies to denounce the February 1 coup took place in Burma on Friday March 26 at dawn, the day after a day when the armed forces claimed nine victims.

On Friday morning, a fire broke out in Yangon at the party headquarters of the former head of the civilian government Aung San Suu Kyi. The premises were briefly set on fire after an individual threw a Molotov cocktail around 4 a.m. (9:30 a.m. GMT), just as the curfew was lifted.

“When residents nearby learned of the fire, they called the fire department to extinguish it … It was under control around 5 a.m.,” Soe Win, a member of the AFP, told AFP. National League for Democracy in charge of the headquarters. “It looks like someone lit a Molotov cocktail and threw it in the direction of the seat.”

Only the entrance to the building was hit and party members were on hand to assess the damage, he said.

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>> To read also: Burma: the suburbs of Rangoon, target of a murderous repression behind closed doors

“We are going to file a complaint with the police … We do not know who did this, but it is not at all good,” added Soe Win. The LND headquarters was one of the favorite places for protests in the weeks following the coup.

As early as dawn on Friday, a small group was demonstrating near downtown Yangon, shouting “Free our leaders”. At night, candlelight vigils were held across the country, media reported. In Burma’s second city, Mandalay, protesters marched on Friday morning behind a banner that read “civil disobedience movement,” according to the Mizzima news site.

Political dissent brought under control

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Some NLD lawmakers have formed a group called the Committee representing Pyidaungse Hluttaw (CRPH) – the Burmese word for “parliament” – to work underground in opposition to military rule. The junta declared any association with the CRPH amounted to “high treason” and indicted some of its most prominent members, all of whom live in hiding.

Since the putsch, some deputies of the LND, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, have been living in hiding and the party’s offices in Yangon have been occupied by a handful of employees.

On Thursday, security forces opened fire on demonstrators, who took to the streets of the country in numbers. The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) has recorded nine deaths at the hands of the armed forces.

At least 320 people were killed by the security forces in the repression of the demonstrations, according to a report drawn up by this group of defense of political prisoners. Other media reported seven injured. Reuters was unable to independently verify this information.

Military parades scheduled for Saturday

According to the AAPP, the military is trying to quell protests ahead of Armed Forces Day, which is due to be held on Saturday. This day commemorates the launch of armed resistance against the Japanese occupation in 1945 and usually gives rise to military parades in the capital Naypyidaw.

The World Bank has also lowered its forecasts for the Burmese economy, which should experience a contraction of 10% in 2021, where the institution previously forecast growth.

Burma has been marked by almost daily protests since the army overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The latter, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her campaign for the establishment of a democratic civilian regime in Burma, and other members of her NLD are being held in detention.

The junta tried to justify its takeover by claiming that the November 8 elections, won by the NLD, were fraudulent, a charge the electoral commission rejected. Military leaders promised new elections but did not set a date and declared a state of emergency.

With AFP and Reuters


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