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Myanmar Anti-Coup Protesters Return to Streets After Observing General Strike

Demonstrators display placards during a protest close to Indonesian Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Anti-coup protesters gathered outside the embassy following reports that Indonesia was seeking to have fellow members of the…

Protesters in Myanmar took part in yet another day of demonstrations against the country’s military junta Tuesday, although in much smaller numbers than the massive turnout in many cities and towns seen the previous day.

An angry crowd of demonstrators gathered in front of the Indonesian embassy in Yangon following reports Jakarta is seeking support from other member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a plan that would hold the junta to its promise of new elections within a year. The protesters demanded that Indonesia respect the results of last November’s elections, won in a landslide by deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

In Jakarta, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah denied the reports, telling media Tuesday that it “is not Indonesia’s position at all to support a new election in Myanmar.” Teuku said Indonesia is consulting with its fellow ASEAN members to reach a consensus before a special meeting on the situation in Myanmar.

Monday’s demonstrations, which were coupled with a general strike, took place in defiance of an ominous warning broadcast Sunday on Myanmar state television that warned protesters “are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.”

Popular protests have been staged across Myanmar on a daily basis since the military detained Suu Kyi and other members of the civilian government on February 1, claiming widespread election fraud. Three people have been killed as a result of the daily protests, including two who died Saturday in Mandalay -- one of them a teenage boy -- when police and security forces used live and rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon and slingshots against demonstrators.

The United States and other Western nations have demanded the release of Suu Kyi and her lieutenants, and called on the junta to restore power to the civilian government. The Biden administration has imposed sanctions on several members of the junta, with two of them, General Moe Myint Tun and Air Force chief General Maung Maung Kyaw, placed on the list Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Monday said on Twitter, “The U.S. stands with the people of Burma who demand the restoration of the democratically elected government.” The tweet also said the designations “are another step to promote accountability for military leaders who perpetrate violence and attempt to suppress the will of the people.” Burma is another name for Myanmar.

VOA’s United Nations correspondent, Margaret Besheer, reports the spokesperson for the president of the U.N. General Assembly announced Tuesday the assembly will hold an informal meeting Friday on the situation in Myanmar.