Myanmar Junta Imposes Curfew, Meeting Bans As Protests Swell

Myanmar’s military government imposed a curfew and bans on gatherings of more than five people in the country’s two biggest cities on Monday as protests against last week’s coup showed no sign of abating.

The decrees covering Yangon and Mandalay were issued on a township-by-township basis, and those which have become public so far have the same restrictions. At least seven have been issued, and more are expected for other areas. Rallies and gatherings of more than five people, along with motorized processions, are banned, and a 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew is imposed. The measures are effective until further notice. The decrees say they were issued in response to people carrying out unlawful actions that harm the rule of law.

Demonstrations against the coup had intensified Monday and spread to more parts of the country. Protesters also rallied at a major downtown intersection in the country’s largest city, Yangon, raising a three-finger salute that is a symbol of resistance and carrying placards saying, ‘Reject the military coup’ and ‘Justice for Myanmar.’

There were also reports of new demonstrations in towns in the north, southeast and east of the country, as well as in the city of Mandalay, where there was a procession of marchers and motorbikes. The growing wave of defiance — particularly in the capital Naypyitaw, where such protests are unusual — was striking in a country where demonstrations have been met with severe force in the past.

The resistance is being seen in Naypyitaw, whose population includes many civil servants and their families, could speak to the level of anger among people who had only begun to taste democracy in recent years after five decades of military rule. ‘We do not want the military junta,’ said Daw Moe, a protester in Yangon. ‘We never ever wanted this junta. Nobody wants it. All the people are ready to fight them.’

The coup came the day newly elected lawmakers were supposed to take their seats in Parliament after November elections. The generals have said that vote was marred by fraud — though the country’s election commission has dismissed that claim.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing instead repeated the claim that the military staged the takeover because of alleged voter fraud. He added that the military would hold new elections as promised in a year and hand over power to the winners.

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