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Tens of thousands rally against Myanmar coup despite crackdown fears

Tens of thousands of people in Myanmar demonstrated against the military coup for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, with officials, doctors and Buddhist monks swelling their ranks.

Bangkok, 11 February 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Tens of thousands of people in Myanmar demonstrated against the military coup for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, with officials, doctors and Buddhist monks swelling their ranks.

They turned out despite growing fears of a wider police crackdown after officials fired live ammunition and rubber bullets into a crowd on Tuesday and used water cannon and tear gas to violently crack down on the rallies. Dozens of people were detained and some injured.

A protester in Myanmar remained in critical condition after she was shot by police on Tuesday, according to reports.

In the northern city of Mandalay, however, dozens of protesters were released on Wednesday, according to the Myanmar Times newspaper.

From Mandalay to Yangon, protesters found creative ways to show their opposition to the dictatorship in rallies which were peaceful on Wednesday.

In Yangon, more than 100 women dressed up as Disney princesses in opulent evening wear to demand the release of the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 75-year-old is said to be under house arrest but has not been seen in public since the coup. On Tuesday, security forces searched the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party.

Suu Kyi has reportedly been charged under the country’s import-export law for walkie-talkies found in her home.

“We want to show that young women are also participating in the protests. We thought these outfits would be the most obvious way to do that,” one woman said, according to the Frontier Myanmar website.

“It’s really strange today! No police forces blocked all of the marching in Yangon. Young people are protesting very peacefully and fashionably than previous days!” Mratt Kyaw Thu, a local journalist, wrote on Twitter.

At another rally, images shared on social media showed bare-chested bodybuilders calling for an end to the dictatorship that seized power last Monday after arresting Suu Kyi and other top government officials.

In Myawaddy, health workers clad in green scrubs took to the streets.

The police joined protests in many places, according to observers on Twitter and spoke out against the junta, including in the eastern city of Loikaw. Some held posters saying, “We are on the side of the people.”

Photos showed some members of the police force holding up the three-finger salute of resistance borrowed from the “Hunger Games” series and adopted by Thai protesters criticizing the government last year.

Curfews were imposed between 8 pm and 4 am and gatherings of more than five people are banned in areas where there have been larger protests.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved an executive order to enable the US to sanction members of Myanmar’s military for their involvement in a recent coup.

“Today, I’ve approved a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members,” Biden said.

The US will identify a first round of targets this week, and will also impose export controls on the country and freeze US assets that benefit the government of Myanmar.

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