More Catholic men and women are joining the anti-coup protests currently happening in Myanmar. They are calling for the restoration of democracy two weeks after the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other members of the government were deposed by the Tatmadaw— Myanmar’s military.
On Sunday, February 14, hundreds of Catholics marched on the streets of the country’s capital, Yangon. They recited prayers and the Rosary while the young people held placards reading, “Free Aung San Suu Kyi” and “We support CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement).”
Nuns from various congregations also came to show their solidarity with the people of Myanmar. Together with other civilians, they marched the streets, said prayers at convents, and offered snacks to protesters. (Read: Recalling the Highlights of the EDSA People Power Revolution)
Some nuns in the state of Kachin also expressed their support as they stood at the entrance of a church compound and held placards with “No to dictatorship” and “Listen to the voices of people” written on them.
In the early hours of February 1, the military of Myanmar seized power and detained its democratically-elected leaders from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
The coup came after the military claimed that the November general election, which the NLD won by landslide, was a fraud. (Read: 3 Human Rights Issues That Made Headlines in December)
Since then, arrests of anti-coup protesters have been made; while thousands of people who remain undeterred by the pandemic and the nationwide ban on mass gatherings have taken to the streets to express their rage against the coup.
Protests in the largely Buddhist country began on February 6.
Message From the UN
The United Nations (UN) on Sunday called on Myanmar’s military and police to ensure that the right of peaceful assembly is “fully respected” and protesters are “not subjected to reprisals”.
“Reports of continued violence, intimidation, and harassment by security personnel are unacceptable”, said Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (Read: Archbishop Barred From Entering Belarus After Criticizing Government)
Thomas Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, also said in a tweet, “it’s as if the generals have declared war on the people of Myanmar: late night raids; mounting arrests; more rights stripped away’ another internet shutdown; military convoys entering communities.”
“These are signs of desperation. Attention generals: You WILL be held accountable,” he added.