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Amid flash protests, bomb blasts in Myanmar’s commercial hub

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Protesters hold banners during a rally in Yangon's Insein township, Myanmar, May 1, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Several explosions have been reported in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, amid flash protests by anti-coup activists to avoid confrontation with security forces.

Three months since the junta took power in a coup on February 1, people are still on the streets calling for the release of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and several other politicians.

On Saturday, demonstrators in the country’s commercial hub displayed another scene of a protest movement that has been playing itself out on a regular basis since the coup.

“Our cause, democracy, our cause, a federal union. Free arrested leaders,” protesters chanted at one of two demonstrations in Yangon.

In the meantime, a bomb blast early in the morning near a local school in Insein township added to tension.

Two more blasts were reported later in the afternoon in Yankin, further south.

Local media reports said a woman was wounded in the Yankin blasts, which they blamed on “instigators.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the military blamed anti-coup protesters.

The UN special envoy on Myanmar warned on Friday that violence was worsening.

“The general administration of the state could risk coming to a standstill as the pro-democracy movement continues in spite of the ongoing use of lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture as part of the military's repression,” Christine Schraner Burgener told the UN Security Council.

In April, the junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, participated in a meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The invitation from the association was deeply controversial.

UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said Min Aung Hlaing had used the summit as a “propaganda ploy.”

“Indeed, he tried to appear to be what he is not – a legitimate leader,” Andrews said in a post on Twitter.

The photo shows a poster featuring Myanmar’s junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing in Dawei, May 1, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

On Saturday, posters of the junta leader were pasted around in southern Dawei, calling him a “power addict.”

He says the coup was necessary to ‘protect democracy.’

To date, at least 759 protesters have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group.

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