Myanmar: Growing protest since military coup

Yangon (AFP) –


Myanmar's military seized power last week, arresting the country's democratically-elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

As protests spread across the country, here is a recap of events:

- Back to the old days -

The generals stage a coup on February 1, detaining Nobel Peace Prize-winner Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in pre-dawn raids.

In doing so they end Myanmar's 10-year experiment with democracy after close to 50 years of military rule.

The generals justify the coup by claiming fraud in November's elections, which the Suu Kyi's party won by a landslide.

The junta proclaims a one-year state of emergency, and promise to hold fresh elections after that without offering a precise timeframe.

The putsch draws global condemnation from the Pope to the new US President Joe Biden.

- Walkie-talkies -

Two days after the coup, authorities bring an obscure charge against 75-year-old Suu Kyi -- over unregistered walkie-talkies at her home, an offence under Myanmar's import and export law.

- Internet blocked -

Myanmar citizens kick off resistance with the nightly clamour of people banging pots and pans -- a practice traditionally associated with driving out evil spirits.

The junta orders telecom networks to block access to Facebook, which is extremely popular in the country.

On Friday the military orders other social media providers, including Twitter, to be muzzled in an effort to stifle dissent.

A party spokesman says Suu Kyi, who has not been seen in public since the coup, is under house arrest and "in good health".

- Bold defiance -

Popular dissent surges over the weekend, with tens of thousands of people gathering on the streets calling for the release of Suu Kyi.

- Strike -

On Monday defiance spreads with a third straight day of rallies and hundreds of thousands of people participating in anti-coup rallies across Myanmar.

Workers respond to calls for a nationwide strike and walk off the job.

Riot police fire water cannon in an bid to disperse thousands gathered on a highway in the capital Naypyidaw.

- Crackdown warning -

State broadcaster MRTV warns that opposition to the military takeover is unlawful and signals a crackdown.

- Martial Law declared -

Officials on Monday night were trickling out announcements declaring martial law in townships across Myanmar. It's likely the orders will apply to the whole country.

The orders ban people from protesting or gathering in groups of more than five, and a curfew will run from 8 pm until 4 am, the general administration department said in a statement.