Myanmar forces surrounded hundreds of anti-junta protesters at two places in Yangon on Wednesday and arrested more than 100 people.
Police stormed a compound in Yangon housing railway staff and surrounded hundreds of protesters in North Okkalapa district, in another part of the city, and made arrests, witnesses said.
The railway staff are part of a civil disobedience movement since the army ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1.
The US Embassy, while condemning the action, said in a statement: “We are seeing reports of innocent students and civilians surrounded by security forces in North Okkalapa, as well as arrests.”
“We call on those security forces to withdraw from the area, release those detained, and allow people to depart safely.”
Meanwhile, security forces have cracked down with increasing force on daily, nationwide protests, leaving the country in turmoil.
More than 60 protesters have been killed and 1,900 people have been arrested since the coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group, has said.
In Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay, protesters staged a sit-in protest on Wednesday, chanting: “The resolution must prevail”.
On Tuesday, Zaw Myat Linn, an official from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), died in custody after he was arrested, the second party figure to die in detention in two days.
In a symbolic gesture, an announcement posted on the NLD’s Facebook page said ousted lawmakers had appointed Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was the upper house speaker, as acting vice president to perform the duties of arrested President Win Myint and leader Suu Kyi. Mahn Win Khaing Than’s whereabouts were not known.
The military juntahas also launched cracked down on independent media, raiding the offices of two news outlets and detaining two journalists.
At least 35 journalists have been arrested since the coup, Myanmar Now reported, of which 19 have been released.
The United States is “repulsed” by the Myanmar army’s continued use of lethal force against its people and is continuing to urge the military to exercise “maximum restraint”, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
LOBBYIST TO BE PAID $2 MILLION: Meanwhile, an Israeli-Canadian lobbyist hired by Myanmar’s junta will be paid $2 million to “assist in explaining the real situation” of the army’s coup to the United States and other countries, documents filed with the US Justice Department show.
Ari Ben-Menashe and his firm, Dickens & Madson Canada, will represent Myanmar’s military government in Washington, as well as lobby Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Russia, and international bodies like the United Nations, according to a consultancy agreement.
The Montreal-based firm will “assist the devising and execution of policies for the beneficial development of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and also to assist in explaining the real situation in the Country,” read the agreement, submitted on Monday to the Justice Department as part of compliance with the US Foreign Agents Registration Act and published online.