Nearly 200 Anti-Military Regime Protesters Detained in Myanmar Capital

By The Irrawaddy 23 February 2021

YANGON — Nearly 200 civilians in Naypyitaw have reportedly been detained by Myanmar’s military regime after tens of thousands of protesters joined the “22222” general strike.

Videos showed the security forces violently cracking down on anti-coup protesters in several townships, including Zabuthiri and Pyinmana, while activists attempted to march on the central government.

A total of 193 mostly young people were arrested, according to the lawyers and their relatives.

“They arrested anyone on the streets. My family were forced out of their car and dragged to a police vehicle,” a relative of a detainee, who asked not to be named, told The Irrawaddy. His brother, uncle and aunt were also detained while they were preparing to join protests in Naypyitaw.

“My brother made a video call just before they were surrounded by the police So I saw what happened. We don’t know their whereabouts,” he said.

Some young people live-streamed on Facebook as police surrounded them. According to lawyers who are trying to deal with the cases, those detained are split between a police station and a military compound in Naypyitaw.

“They fired three times while they were trying to break us up. My two friends were beaten and taken away. I managed to run away,” an engineering student who joined the protest told The Irrawaddy.

“They targeted young people. I saw some of my female classmates also being taken away by the police,” he said.

Lawyers are negotiating with the city’s police chief to release the detainees, according to the lawyers’ network in Naypyitaw.

“Mobile phones were seized by the security forces so we can’t contact the detainees. As far as I know, they will have to sign a statement saying they will not join any further anti-coup protests,” a lawyer representing students told The Irrawaddy.

By Monday, more than four people, including three anti-coup protesters and a member of a civilian neighborhood protection group, had been killed by the security forces and more than 100 wounded in crackdowns by the regime on demonstrations across the country.

The military staged the coup and detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint on Feb. 1. Demonstrations across the country began on Feb. 7.

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