February 27 (Reuters) – UN envoy to Myanmar urged the United Nations to use “all means necessary” to stop a military coup in that country, issuing a surprise appeal on behalf of the then ousted government that the police were cracking down on anti-junta demonstrators.
The Southeast Asian country has been in crisis since the military seized power on February 1 and arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership, alleging fraud during the November elections his party won.
The coup brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets of Myanmar and drew condemnation from Western countries, with some imposing limited sanctions.
More protests were scheduled for Saturday, activists said, and police were in force in parts of the main city of Yangon.
Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun told the United Nations General Assembly that he was speaking on behalf of Suu Kyi’s government and called on the forum “to use all means necessary to take action against the government. Myanmar army and ensure the safety and security of the people.
“We need the strongest possible action on the part of the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent … and to restore democracy,” he said. he declared at the UN General Assembly, which has 193 members, receiving applause at the end.
Kyaw Moe Tun appeared moved as he read the statement on behalf of a group of elected politicians who he said represented the legitimate government.
By pronouncing his last words in Burmese, the career diplomat raised the three-fingered salute of the pro-democracy demonstrators and announced that “our cause will prevail”.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact the military for comment.
Opponents of the coup hailed Kyaw Moe Tun as a hero and flooded social media with messages of thanks.
“The people will win and the power-obsessed junta will fall,” protest leader Ei Thinzar Maung wrote on Facebook.
UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener urged the UN for a “collective clear signal for democracy” and told the General Assembly that no country should recognize or legitimize the junta.
The Chinese envoy did not criticize the coup and said the situation fell within Myanmar’s “internal affairs”, saying he supported the diplomacy of Southeast Asian countries including the protesters. fear that it could give credibility to the generals in power.
Singapore has said violence against unarmed civilians is inexcusable.
THE UNCERTAIN WHEREABOUTS OF SUU KYI
Uncertainty grew over Suu Kyi’s fate on Friday, as the independent Myanmar Now website cited officials from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party as saying that she had been transferred this week from l house arrest in an undisclosed location.
A lawyer acting for her, Khin Maung Zaw, told Reuters he had heard the same from NLD officials but could not confirm it. Authorities did not respond to a request for comment.
The lawyer said he did not have access to Suu Kyi until his next hearing on Monday, adding: “I fear there is a loss of rights of access to justice and access to a lawyer. “.
Protesters have taken to the streets every day for more than three weeks to demand the release of Suu Kyi, 75, and recognition of last year’s election result.
In Yangon, riot police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and gunfire into the air on Friday to send protesters to disperse. At least one person was injured there, a witness said.
Several people were also injured by police in Mandalay’s second city, media reported. Police also dispersed protests in Naypyitaw and other towns, witnesses said.
The military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, said the authorities were using minimal force. Nevertheless, at least three protesters died. The military says a policeman was also killed.
At least 771 people are in custody or have outstanding charges brought against them since the coup, according to the Myanmar Political Prisoner Assistance Association.
Suu Kyi, the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, spent nearly 15 years under house arrest under previous juntas. She faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and violating a natural disaster law by violating coronavirus protocols.
The military promised an election, but did not give a date. He imposed a one-year state of emergency.
The issue of elections is at the center of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member. Indonesia has taken the lead, but opponents of the coup fear the efforts will legitimize the junta.
ASEAN foreign ministers plan to hold a meeting on Myanmar soon, regional diplomats said. (Reporting by Reuters staff; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Richard Pullin)