Tens of thousands of people marched on the second day of Myanmar’s capital city on Sunday, with thousands of people gathered across the country to protest the military coup and the capture of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week.
The protests, which took place despite the internet being cut off and telephone lines restricted, have been the largest protests in the country since the beginning of the 2007 Buddhist monk led by Saffron Revolution.
Crowds in Yangon, the commercial capital, carried red balloons, a color representing Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD), chanting, “We don’t want military dictatorship! We want democracy! ”
Myanmar’s military took power in the early hours of Monday, bringing about the democratic change of the Southeast Asian nation with a sudden standoff and international outrage.
On Saturday tens of thousands took to the streets in the first mass protests since the coup.
On Sunday morning, crowds of people from all corners of Yangon gathered in Hledan township, some in parked cars, marching under the bright sun in the middle of the road.
They waved the NLD flags and suggested a three-finger salute that had become a symbol of anti-government protests. Drivers honking their horns and passengers holding pictures of Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi.
Facebook channels have been one of the few that have been out of the country since the municipality shut down the internet and blocked phone lines on Saturday. Speaking while recording the streets, the broadcaster said obtaining information could help keep protesters safe.
No comments were made from a junta in the capital city of Naypyitaw, more than 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Yangon.
“They are already starting to shut down the internet – if they are in power they will put a lot of pressure on education, business and health,” said Thu Thu, a 57-year-old man arrested by a former junta during pro-democracy protests in the late 1980s. He said that that is why they have to do that,
“We cannot accept the coup,” said the 22-year-old boy who came with 10 of his friends, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. “This is for our future. We have to get out. ”
At midnight about 100 people were riding motorcycles in the southeastern town of Mawlamyine, and students and doctors had gathered in the town of Mandalay in central Myanmar.
Another mob spent the night outside a police station in the town of Payathonzu in the southeastern province of Karen, where it was believed that NLD local legislators had been arrested. They sat outside in the morning, singing songs for freedom.
With no online and official information at stake, rumors were rife that Suu Kyi and her cabinet would be over. The story of his release, which drew crowds of people to the streets to celebrate Saturday night, was quickly removed by his lawyer.
More than 160 people have been detained since the military took power, said Thomas Andrews, a United Nations special envoy to Myanmar.
Andrews said in a statement on Sunday that the Generals are now trying to cripple the movement of citizens – and also keep the outside world in the dark – by cutting off almost the entire internet.
He also said that they all must stand with the people of Myanmar in their hour of danger and need and that they do not deserve anything less than that.