Several hundred teachers and students protested at a Myanmar university Friday as the military widened a dragnet against officials ousted in a coup that has drawn global condemnation and the threat of new sanctions.
The rally took place after the arrest of Win Htein, a key aide to de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who has not been seen in public since being detained along with president Win Myint early Monday.
A representative of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy said Friday she was being held at her residence in Naypyidaw, the country’s capital, and was “in good health.”
“As far as I know, she’s under house arrest and has not been taken to another place yet,” NLD press officer Kyi Toe told AFP.
Monday’s putsch ended the country’s 10-year dalliance with democracy that followed decades of oppressive junta rule, and sparked outrage and calls by US President Joe Biden for the generals to relinquish power.
On Friday, around 200 teachers and students at Yangon’s Dagon University staged a rally where they displayed a three-finger salute borrowed from Thailand’s democracy movements, and sang a popular evolution song.
“We have to resist this dictatorship,” lecturer Win Win Maw told AFP.
“If all civil servants participate in this movement, it’s not easy to operate this government system.”
Students chanted “Long live Mother Suu” and carried red flags, the colour of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party. AFP
A similar protest took place across town in Yangon University.
In the capital Naypyidaw, dozens of employees from several government ministries posed for group photographs wearing red ribbons and flashing the democracy symbol.
Hours before Friday’s university protest, Win Htein was arrested at his daughter’s house, said Kyi Toe.
The 79-year-old NLD stalwart, considered Suu Kyi’s right-hand man, has spent long stretches in detention for campaigning against military rule.
Ahead of his arrest, Win Htein told local media the military putsch had called on people in the country to “oppose (the coup) as much as they can.”
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Yangon-based group that monitors political arrests in Myanmar, more than 130 officials and lawmakers have been detained.
Telecom providers in the country were ordered to cut access to Facebook, the main means of communication and accessing the internetfor millions of people in Myanmar.