Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has appeared for the first time since her arrest during a military coup in the country a month ago.
San Suu Kyi’s attorneys said they saw their client on a televised circuit in a court, and her health appeared to be “good.”
San Suu Kyi has been held in an undisclosed location since the February 1 army coup.
On Sunday at the weekend, 18 people were killed, the largest daily death toll since the start of the coup, as police and army forces opened fire on crowds of demonstrators.
On Monday, however, protesters turned out in large numbers, demanding the return of the elected government and the release of San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her party – the National League for Democracy.
The military says it seized power due to fraud in the country’s general elections in November, in which the NLD won a landslide victory.
The army did not provide evidence of the sincerity of its claims about the elections, yet it replaced the electoral commission and promised to hold new elections within a year.
Where is San Suu Kyi?
San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest since the coup occurred on February 1, and then appeared for the first time Monday on a televised circuit in a court in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
Today, Monday, new charges were added to the two charges facing San Sochi, namely: illegal possession of wireless communication devices, and violation of the country’s natural disasters law.
Among the new charges are violating the precautionary restrictions for combating Covid-19 during the election campaign, and spreading “an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.”
The first two charges carry a sentence of three years in prison. As for the new charges, the extent of their punishments is not yet known. The case was adjourned to March 15th.
And local media reports said on Monday that ousted President Win Myint – an ally of San Suu Kyi – has been charged with incitement.
San Suu Kyi’s popularity has grown in Myanmar since her arrest, but her worldwide reputation is still tainted by accusations related to her stance on the crime of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
What else happened today?
Demonstrations renewed today, Monday, in a number of cities across the country.
According to the French News Agency, a dispersal of demonstrators was seen by firing a barrage of bullets, without making sure whether it was live bullets or rubber.
The agency added that protesters in Yangon were seen using bamboo stems, tree branches, furniture sofas and more to erect barriers in the streets.
Pictures circulating indicate the use of tear gas canisters against demonstrators.
What is the context of the events in Myanmar?
The Myanmar army seized power on February 1, declaring a state of emergency, placing all powers in the hands of General Min Aung Hling.
Within days, a civil disobedience movement began to take shape in the country, and the professionals refused to return to their jobs in protest of the coup.
The insurgency quickly gained momentum, and not long ago, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets.
Demonstrations in recent days have seen an increase in violence between police forces and civilians – and at least 18 people were killed in the weekend demonstrations on Sunday.
Facts about Myanmar
Myanmar, also known as Burma, gained its independence from Britain in 1948.
Myanmar fell under military rule between 1962 and 2011, and throughout this period it remained among the international pariah states.
But a new phase in Myanmar’s history began in 2010 with an internal movement that led to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.
In 2017, an excessive crackdown by the Myanmar army on the Rohingya Muslims caused more than half a million people to flee across the border into Bangladesh – which the United Nations later described as “an example of ethnic cleansing”.
On February 1, Aung San Suu Kyi and her government were overthrown in a military coup, sparking demonstrations in the country.