Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Myanmar’s UN envoy has urged the United Nations to use “any means necessary” to stop the military coup in the South-East Asian nation, making a surprise appeal on behalf of the ousted government as police cracked down on anti-junta protesters.
Key points:

  • Kyaw Moe Tun appeals for the UN to take action against the Myanmar military
  • He says the fight for “a government of the people, by the people” will go on
  • Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been moved from house arrest to an undisclosed location

Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun told the UN General Assembly he was speaking on behalf of the government of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
He appealed for the UN “to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military and to provide safety and security for the people”.
The nation has been in crisis since the army seized power on February 1 and detained elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership, alleging fraud in a November election her party had won.
The coup has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to Myanmar’s streets and drawn condemnation from Western countries, with some imposing limited sanctions.
“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people and to restore the democracy,” Mr Moe Tun told the 193-member UN General Assembly.
“We will continue to fight for a government which is of the people, by the people, for the people.”
He appeared emotional as he read the statement on behalf of a group of elected politicians that he said represented the legitimate government.
LoadingDelivering his final words in Burmese, he raised the three-finger salute of pro-democracy protesters and announced “our cause will prevail”.
Opponents of the coup hailed the career diplomat as a hero and flooded social media with messages of thanks.
“The people will win and the power-obsessed junta will fall,” one protest leader, Ei Thinzar Maung, wrote on Facebook.
LoadingUN special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener pushed the United Nations for a collective “clear signal in support of democracy”.
She told the General Assembly that no country should recognise or legitimise the junta.
China’s envoy did not criticise the coup and said the situation was Myanmar’s “internal affairs”.
It added that it supported diplomacy by South-East Asian countries, which some protesters fear could give credibility to the ruling generals.
Suu Kyi’s location uncertain
Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been moved to a new location.(Reuters: Erik De Castro)
Uncertainty grew over Suu Kyi’s whereabouts on Friday, as the independent Myanmar Now website quoted officials of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party as saying she had been moved this week from house arrest to an undisclosed location.
Protesters have taken to the streets daily for over three weeks demanding the release of Ms Suu Kyi, and recognition of the result of last year’s election.
More protests were planned for this weekend, activists said, and police were out in force in parts of the main city of Yangon.
Riot police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and shots into the air on Friday to send protesters scattering.
At least one person was wounded there, a witness said.
Several people were also hurt by police in the second city of Mandalay, media said.
Authorities applying ‘minimal force’
More protests are planned for Yangon this weekend after a show of force on Friday. (Reuters)
Police also broke up protests in Naypyitaw and other towns, witnesses said.
Military chief General Min Aung Hlaing said authorities were using minimal force.
Nevertheless, at least three protesters have died, in addition to a police officer.
At least 771 people are under detention or have outstanding charges that have been laid against them since the coup, according to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Suu Kyi, the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, spent nearly 15 years under house arrest under previous juntas.
She faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols.
The army, which has imposed a one-year state of emergency, has promised an election but has not given a date.