Brunei, current leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has called for a regional leaders’ meeting to discuss the situation in Myanmar, where the government has used violence to counter protests against the February 1 military coup.
In a joint statement with Malaysia, Brunei said both countries have asked their ministers and senior officials to undertake “necessary preparations for the meeting to be held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.”
The statement followed a meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Indonesia has led efforts by members of ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, to encourage a negotiated solution, despite a long-standing policy of not commenting on each other’s domestic problems.
Public demonstrations began after the coup which overthrew the elected government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested along with President Win Myint and other government leaders.
The government responded with force, leaving at least 557 dead and more than 2,750 people injured.
Protesters remained defiant in the face of the violence and have found creative ways to continue their protests. Late Monday, in a gesture organized through social media, people went into the streets in various sections of the main city, Yangon, and began applauding.
The gesture was designed to honor “Ethnic Armed Organizations opposing the government.”
Meanwhile, media reports say the military junta over the weekend issued arrest warrants for 60 celebrities — most of whom are in hiding — accused of supporting the protests.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper published lists that include actors, musicians and social media “influencers” charged with “spreading news to affect state stability.” They could face up to three years in prison.