Diverse Myanmar protesters united in opposition to coup

Opponents of Myanmar’s coup took to the streets again on Saturday with members of ethnic minorities, poets and transport workers among those coming out to demand an end to military rule and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others.

Protests against the Feb. 1 coup that overthrew the elected government of the veteran democracy campaigner Suu Kyi have shown no sign of dying down, with demonstrators sceptical of a military’s promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.

Police fired rubber bullets at protesting shipyard workers in the second city of Mandalay and one person was slightly hurt, pictures on social media showed.

A young woman protester died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, the first death among opponents of the coup in the demonstrations.

The army says one policeman has died of injuries sustained in a protest.

The United States was saddened by the protester’s death and condemned the use of force against demonstrators, a State Department spokesman said.

On Saturday, young people in the main city of Yangon carried a wreath and laid flowers at a memorial ceremony for the woman, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, while a similar ceremony of remembrance took place in Naypyitaw.

“The sadness from her death is one thing, but we’ve also got courage to continue for her sake,” student protester Khin Maw Maw Oo said at the Naypyitaw ceremony. “We need 100 people to stand up and take her place.”

The demonstrators are demanding the restoration of the elected government, the release of Suu Kyi and others and the scrapping of a 2008 constitution, drawn up under military supervision, that gives the army a major role in politics.

For those taking part in a procession of colourfully dressed ethnic minority people in Yangon, a federal system is also a key demand.

“We must win this fight. We stand together with the people. We will fight until the end of dictatorship,” Ke Jung, a youth leader from the Naga minority, told Reuters.