Junta soldiers drove a vehicle into a crowd of protesters in Yangon on Wednesday afternoon, missing the marchers but smashing into a car carrying three women taking part in the demonstration, a witness told Myanmar Now.
After the collision, the troops took the women away, said Zaw Htet, a protester from Youth Union, one of the groups involved in the flash mob demonstration. “They held the women at gunpoint and made them sit in formation,” he said.
The women, aged 23, 25 and 30, were trying to escape in the car when they were hit, said Zaw Htet, adding that he did not know where the soldiers took them.
Two of those detained–Khine Thinzar Aye and Ei Phyu Phyu Myint–are members of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Myanmar, the union said on Wednesday. The identity of the third woman has not yet been revealed.
At around 4:25pm, just minutes after the protest started on Thanthumar road in South Okkalapa, some ten troops riding in a double cab pickup truck came hurtling towards the crowd of roughly 30 people.
“We saw them speeding towards us from Myittar street just minutes after the protest started and we dispersed to the sides of the road,” he said. “That was the only reason this didn’t end up the same way as it did on Panbingyi street.”
In December, junta forces drove into a crowd of anti-coup protesters on Yangon’s Panbingyi street, injuring and then arresting several. Witnesses initially told Myanmar Now that five were killed, but it is now unclear if there were fatalities.
Wednesday’s protest was organised by the Anti-Junta Alliance Yangon, a group of students’ unions and youth organisations from the city.
The crowd chanted: “The oppressors are becoming more cruel,” and “Those who value justice, wake up!”
“We just wanted to notify people that the military cares for no one’s rights or needs as long as they get to rule the country,” said Zaw Htet.
Regular flash mob protests against the military have continued in Yangon even after soldiers massacred hundreds of peaceful protesters across the country last year.
Myanmar’s junta hands Suu Kyi another seven years behind bars, completing its barrage of charges against her
The 77-year-old ousted leader now faces a total of 33 years in prison on a host of charges laid against her by the coup regime
As the junta has gagged the lawyers of the detained leaders in an attempt to restrict information from being shared about their court cases, Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify Maung Maung Swe’s accounts of the interactions.
However, this is not the first time Suu Kyi has addressed her supporters or the public since her arrest. In April last year, Suu Kyi delivered a message to the public through her legal team during a hearing in Naypyitaw, according to a source close to the court. She urged the people “to stay united,” said the source. She gave the rare statement to her lawyers during a session in a junta court specially designated to review charges brought against her by the military.
The source told Myanmar Now at that time that she urged the public “to stay united and hold discussions on different views. If they still aren’t able to open dialogues now, she said to wait patiently until it is possible to do so.”
Suu Kyi wanted people with different or contrasting opinions to get along with one another and believed “negotiations would be necessary in order to come to a common solution amongst the people,” the source explained.