Protesters opposed to the military coup in Myanmar defied bans on major marches to extend the biggest protests on Tuesday in more than a decade, shouting and challenging police who fired water cannons and arrested more than two dozen people.
The Feb. 1 coup and detention of elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has resulted in 53 million demonstrations and an increasing civil disobedience campaign impacting hospitals, schools, and government offices throughout the Southeast Asian country for four straight days.
A video posted on Facebook showed that Myanmar police fired a water cannon at peaceful demonstrators in the country's capital of Naypyitaw for a second day, while the crowd refused to disperse. The video in Bago, northeast of Yangon's commercial center, also showed police shooting water cannons and addressing a huge crowd.
In the second-largest city of Mandalay, police detained at least 27 protesters, including a journalist, local media organizations reported.
Memories of nearly half a century of military rule that lasted until 2015 have been resurrected by the unrest.
"A coup always comes into our minds every time we eat, work, and even rest," said Khin Min Soe, a resident of Yangon. "Whenever we think about why this has befallen us again, we are so disappointed and so sad"
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing's pledges on Monday to eventually hold a new election in his first speech since taking power attracted scorn. In last November's election, he repeated unproven allegations of fraud, won in a landslide by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD).
"We will continue to fight," the youth activist Maung Saungkha said in a statement calling for the release of political prisoners and the "complete collapse of the dictatorship."
Activists are also demanding the abolition of a constitution in ethnically-divided Myanmar that gave the army a veto in parliament and for federalism.
In 1988, during bloodily crushed demonstrations, an older group of demonstrators called for the continuation of strike action by government employees for another three weeks.
Official research statistics found that the civil disobedience campaign, led by hospital staff, resulted in a plunge in coronavirus studies.
With a record of 31,177 fatalities out of more than 141,000 cases, Myanmar has experienced one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Southeast Asia.