Suu Kyi appears in court via video links

Suu Kyi appears in court via video links
Suu Kyi appears in court via video link. (IANS)
YANGON, MAR 1 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/1/2021 1:18:56 PM IST

Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared at a court hearing via video conferencing on Monday as supporters marched in several towns and cities in defiance of a crackdown after the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 military coup.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters in the main city of Yangon on Monday, witnesses said. They later combed through side streets firing rubber bullets and at least one person was hurt, media reported.

Suu Kyi, aged 75, looked in good health during her appearance before a court in the capital Naypyidaw, one of her lawyers said. Two more charges were added to those filed against her after the coup, she said.

“I saw Amay on the video, she looks healthy,” lawyer Min Min Soe told Reuters, using an affectionate term meaning “mother” to refer to Suu Kyi. “She asked to meet her lawyer.” 

The Nobel Peace laureate, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), has not been seen in public since her government was ousted and she was detained along with other party leaders. She was initially charged with illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. Later, a charge of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols was added.

On Monday, two more charges were added, one under a section of a colonial-era penal code prohibiting publication of information that may “cause fear or alarm”, and the other under a telecommunications law stipulating licences for equipment, the lawyer said.

The next hearing will be on March 15. Critics of the coup say the charges were trumped up.

Myanmar has been in chaos since the military seized power after alleging fraud in a November election won by the NLD in a landslide, with daily protests getting increasingly violent as police and troops try to stamp them out. 

On Sunday, police fired on crowds in several places killing 18 people, the United Nations human rights office said. A committee representing lawmakers elected last year said 26 people were killed but Reuters was unable to verify that.

“We have to continue the protest no matter what,” Thar Nge said after police firing tear gas forced him and others to abandon a barricade in a Yangon street.

“This is my neighbourhood. It’s a lovely neighbourhood but now we’re hearing gunfire and we don’t feel safe.” The military has not commented on Sunday’s violence and police and military spokesmen did not answer calls. The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper warned that “severe action will be inevitably taken” against “anarchic mobs”. 

Demonstrators marched on Monday in the northwestern town of Kale holding up pictures of Suu Kyi and live video on Facebook showed a crowd in the northeastern town of Lashio, chanting slogans. Police and soldiers later raided a church in the town and detained 11 people, a church group said in a statement.

-Tags:#Suu Kyi

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