Mass protests against Myanmar military junta continued for the eighth straight day on Saturday with detentions at a large scale of the supporters of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Thousands gathered in the financial capital Yangon and the national capital Naypyitaw, Mandalay and other towns a day after the biggest protests so far in the country.
“Stop kidnapping at night,” was among the signs held up by protesters in Yangon in response to arrest raids in recent days.
According to the United Nations human rights office, more than 350 people, including officials, activists and monks, have been arrested since the February 1 coup, including some who face criminal charges on “dubious grounds”.
Meanwhile, videos showing arrests of the protesters have been adding to the anger against the military. Forces have arrested some prominent figures during nights to avoid public backlash.
Messages “Our nights aren’t safe anymore” and “Myanmar military is kidnapping people at night” have circulated widely on social media.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a watchdog group for political prisoners, voiced concern over arrests.
“Family members are left with no knowledge of the charges, location, or condition of their loved ones. These are not isolated incidents, and night time raids are targeting dissenting voices. It is happening across the country,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Friday calling on the military junta to release Suu Kyi and others and refrain from using violence on protesters.
Thomas Andrews, the UN rights investigator for Myanmar, told a special session of the rights council in Geneva that the UN Security Council should consider imposing sanctions and arms embargoes.
Myint Thu, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN, told the session that Myanmar did not want “to stall the nascent democratic transition in the country,” and would continue international cooperation.
On the other hand, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper claimed that thousands of people had joined pro-military demonstrations on Friday. But the news could not be verified through independent dources.
To placate the masses and the world, 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”.
The army staged a coup on unsubstantiated charges of fraud in November election which was won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in a landslide. The army’s complaints were dismissed by electoral commission.