The ethnic Intha community display placards during a protest against the military coup in Inle Lake, Taunggyi, Myanmar, Thursday, February 11.
Members of Myanmar’s often persecuted ethnic minorities Thursday joined a sixth day of growing nationwide protests against the military’s overthrow of the civilian government.
In Myanmar’s eastern Shan State, home to one of the country’s largest ethnic minority groups, scores of wooden long boats used for fishing and transportation on scenic Inle Lake hosted a unique floating protest, with passengers holding placards denouncing the coup and calling for justice. Some protesters squeezed messages lengthwise onto oars, including “Respect Our Votes” and “Say No to Coup.”
Members of the ethnic Karen, Rakhine and Kachin minority groups participated in a mass march through the streets of Yangon dressed in the colorful outfits of their regions. Myanmar’s military has targeted the country’s ethnic groups for decades in an effort to crush their demands for greater autonomy.
The protests come as the military junta continues to tighten its grip on power more than a week after ousting de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. One of her closest aides, Kyaw Tint Swe, was among a handful of members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party who were taken from their homes by security forces overnight and detained. The leadership of Myanmar’s electoral commission has also reportedly been detained. The commission rejected the military’s claims of widespread fraud in November’s elections, which the NLD won in a landslide.
The latest detentions took place a day after the military raided the NLD’s national headquarters in Yangon.
The military has used the claims of election fraud as justification for the February 1 coup and subsequent detention of Suu Kyi and senior members of the civilian government.
The military has declared a one-year state of emergency. Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest at her official residence in the capital, Naypyitaw, is facing charges of illegally importing and using six unregistered walkie-talkie radios found during a search of her home. (AP/VOA)