Supporters of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for tougher international action against the new junta on Friday after Washington announced a first round of sanctions following six days of pro-democracy demonstrations.
Security forces carried out another series of arrests overnight, with those detained including at least one doctor who had taken part in an escalating civil disobedience campaign. In some places, people rallied to prevent those arrested being taken away.
Social media giant Facebook said it would cut the visibility of content run by Myanmar’s military, saying they have “continued to spread misinformation” after seizing power.
Facebook will also suspended the ability for Myanmar government agencies to send it content-removal requests.
As Washington announced a first round of sanctions, European Union lawmakers called for action from their countries and Britain said it was considering measures to punish the February 1 coup that ousted Suu Kyi’s government.
Supporters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) welcomed the US sanctions but said tougher action was needed to push the military out of power and force it to recognise the NLD’s landslide victory in November elections.
“We are hoping for more actions than this as we are suffering every day and night of the military coup here in Myanmar,” Suu Kyi supporter Moe Thal (29) told Reuters, adding: “We want to finish this ASAP. We may need more punishment and action against Myanmar’s acting president and generals.”
The coup and the detention of Suu Kyi along with more than 260 others have prompted the biggest demonstrations since a 2007 ‘Saffron Revolution’ that ultimately became a step towards now halted democratic change.
The junta remitted the sentences of more than 23,000 prisoners on Friday, saying the move was consistent with “establishing a new democratic state with peace, development and discipline” and would “please the public”.
Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing called on civil servants to return to work on Thursday and urged people to stop mass gatherings to avoid spreading the coronavirus — addressing the protests for the first time.
Among protests across the country on Thursday, hundreds of workers lined a road in the capital Naypyitaw, chanting anti-junta slogans and carrying placards supporting Suu Kyi.
Thousands also demonstrated in the main city of Yangon.
Hundreds of protesters also demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy, accusing Beijing of supporting the military junta despite Chinese denials. Reuters