Myanmar’s fallen civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced a hearing Thursday after a UN envoy warned of the risk of civil war and an impending “bloodbath” as the junta represses demonstrations in favor of democracy.
More than 535 people have died in daily protests since the military toppled Suu Kyi on February 1, ending Myanmar’s decade-long democratic experiment.
The UN Security Council held a closed-door session on the escalating crisis on Wednesday and Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener urged it to act.
“I call on this council to consider all the tools available to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve,” she said, in remarks obtained by UKTN.
She said she remained open to dialogue with the junta but added: “If we wait until the moment when they are ready to speak, the situation on the ground will only get worse. A bloodbath is imminent. . “
The UN emergency session took place on the eve of Suu Kyi’s final court hearing – she faces a slew of criminal charges that could see her expelled from office for life.
Her legal team held their first meeting with her on Wednesday – via video link at a police station – since she was evicted and detained in the early hours of February 1.
The 75-year-old has not been seen in public, but her lawyers said she appeared to be in good health despite being held for two months.
Thursday’s hearing is expected to be brief and deal only with the administrative aspects of the case.
The junta is also questioning the Nobel laureate about claims she accepted payments in gold and more than $ 1 million in cash, but Khin Maung Zaw, one of her lawyers, said that did not happen. would likely not result in formal charges at this point.
A group of ousted deputies from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), who worked underground against the junta, announced plans for “a new civilian government” in the first week of April.
They announced that the 2008 constitution drafted by the Myanmar military had been “annulled”, and on Thursday a group of protesters burned a stack of copies on the street in Yangon.
Two army-owned supermarkets in Yangon were set on fire overnight, local media reported.
Warning in China
British envoy to the UN, Barbara Woodward, said the Security Council was “united in condemnation” and was discussing “a range of measures available to us”.
But China, seen as an important ally of Myanmar, has ruled out sanctions or other “coercive measures”.
Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun also called for the protection of foreign companies – a major concern for China, which has seen dozens of its factories set on fire amid anger at Beijing.
The US State Department has ordered the departure of non-essential diplomatic personnel and their families from Myanmar, and Japan – one of the country’s major donors – has halted new aid payments.
Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has raised the possibility of action if the military does not resign.
If they continue their attacks on civilian populations, then we have to see how we can do more, ”she told reporters.
Germany’s Giesecke + Devrient, which supplies Myanmar’s central bank with raw materials for the production of banknotes, said on Wednesday it was suspending deliveries.
French renewable energy giant Voltalia has said it is also withdrawing from the country due to the political and humanitarian crisis.
The fears of civil war
Fears are growing that a wider conflict could erupt in a country plagued for decades by recurrent fighting between ethnic military and rebel armies.
Several of Myanmar’s approximately 20 armed ethnic groups, which control large areas of territory mainly in border areas, have expressed their opposition to the coup and repression.
Three of them – the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar Democratic Alliance of Nationalities Army and the Rakhine Army – on Wednesday threatened to join the protesters’ fight against the army. .
Two other formations – the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) – have already stepped up their attacks on the army and the police in recent days.
In another escalation, since Saturday the military has launched regular airstrikes against the KNU in eastern Karen state.
Local media Karen News reported that 11 people were killed in an airstrike in a gold mining area in the state on Tuesday. UKTN has yet to independently confirm these details.
At the same time, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said most of the 2,788 Burmese who fled across the border had returned on Wednesday.
The remaining 200 or so in Thailand were mostly women, the elderly and children.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by UK Time News staff and is posted Platforms.)