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UPDATE 1-Thousands gather for second day of street protests in Myanmar - witnesses

· 02/06/2021 23:11
UPDATE 1-Thousands gather for second day of street protests in Myanmar - witnesses

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- Thousands of people marched for a second day in Myanmar’s biggest city on Sunday to protest against the military junta's coup and detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week.

Protesters in Yangon carried red balloons, the colour representing Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD), and chanted, “We don’t want military dictatorship! We want democracy!”

They marched under bright sunshine in the middle of the road waving NLD flags making the three-figure salute that has become a symbol of protest against the coup. Drivers honked their horns and passengers held up photos of Suu Kyi.

The scenes broadcast on Facebook were some of the few that have come out of the country since the junta shut down the internet and restricted phone lines on Saturday.

"We cannot accept the coup," said a 22-year-old who came with 10 friends, asking not to be named for fear of retribution. "This is for our future. We have to come out."

A woman in her early thirties who brought her family said they had not joined protests a day earlier but refused to be afraid.

"We have to join the people, we want democracy," she said.

By mid-morning about 100 people took to the streets on motorbikes in the coastal town of Mawlamyine in the southeast and students and doctors were gathering in the city of Mandalay in central Myanmar. Another crowd of hundreds spent the night outside a police station in the town of Payathonzu in Karen state in the southeast and continued to stand outside in the morning, singing pro-democracy songs.

Tens of thousands protested across the country on Saturday in an upswelling of anger towards the military that arrested Suu Kyi and her cabinet in the early hours of last Monday and formed a new military government.


(Reporting by Reuters staff; Writing by Poppy McPherson; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christian Schmollinger)

((poppyelena.mcpherson@thomsonreuters.com;))