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Myanmar coup: Protesters defy military crackdown despite jail threat

Tanks push through crowds of protesters in Myanmar as new law threatens 20 years in jail for anyone ‘inciting hatred against coup leaders’.

Armoured vehicles pushed through crowds of protesters in Myanmar today as the country’s military rulers threatened activists with 20 years in jail for opposing their coup.

Vehicles appeared on the streets of Yangon and other large cities on Monday as the armed forces ramped up pressure on tens of thousands of protesters to abandon their quest for democracy and accept military rule.

Meanwhile new laws were passed carrying harsh penalties for anyone found guilty of obstructing the armed forces or of inciting ‘hatred or contempt’ towards coup organisers, including general-turned-ruler Min Aung Hlaing.

It comes after soldiers opened fire on protesters gathered around a power plant in the city of Myitkyina overnight amid rumours that soldiers were about to cut the power.

Soldiers unleashed tear gas before firing on the crowd, though it was unclear whether live rounds or rubber bullets were used. Soon afterwards, an internet blackout was imposed as military vehicles rolled out.

Elsewhere, jailed leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to appear in court via videolink this week, which would be the first sighting of her since the coup took place two weeks ago.

She is expected to appear at a hearing held on either Tuesday or Wednesday, while jailed president Win Myint is also due to appear.

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