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Myanmar military junta deploys troops and armored vehicles

DW, 15 Feb 2021
Security forces in Myanmar deployed extra troops and armored vehicles around the country on Monday after cutting off access to the nation's internet. The military has continuously ramped up its efforts to quell nationwide demonstrations, as protesters, who demand the release of Suu Kyi, refuse to step down. Meanwhile, the detention of Myanmar's former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been extended until Wednesday, as opposed to Monday, as previously thought, her lawyer said.

On Monday, thousands protested in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs that said "Free our leader," "Who stands with justice?" and "Stop arresting people illegally at midnight. In Yangon, however, fewer protesters gathered than in Mandalay, due to Monday morning's internet cuts and reports of armored vehicles on the streets. Hundreds still gathered outside the Central Bank of Myanmar building – one of the primary protest locations. Internet access was mostly restored around 9 a.m. local time, residents reported. Protesters in Yangon were met with military trucks full of troops, riot police, water-cannon trucks and armored personnel carriers. They also carried signs that read "#SupportCDM" and "#SaveMyanmar." CDM refers to the civil disobedience movement under which doctors, engineers and others in Myanmar strike to push the military to release elected leaders and return the country to civilian rule. "This is a fight for our future, the future of our country," youth activist Esther Ze Naw told Reuters at a protest in Yangon. "We don't want to live under a military dictatorship. We want to establish a real federal union where all citizens, all ethnicities are treated equally." Meanwhile, police in Naypyitaw detained about 20 high-school students protesting by a road. "Remember, we don't swear at the police and don't sign anything at the police station," one student could be heard saying.

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