In a show of opposition to the coup that ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, members of Myanmar ethnic groups protested on Saturday, despite some misgivings about her commitment to their aspirations for autonomy, community representatives said.
Ke Jung, a youth leader from the Naga minority and one of the organiser of the protest by the minorities in the main city of Yangon, said the protesters were also demanding a federal system.
“We can’t form a federal country under dictatorship. We can’t accept the junta,” he told media.
Ke Jung said some minority parties were not committed to the movement against the coup.
“It’s a reflection of how Aung San Suu Kyi failed to build alliances with ethnic political parties,” he said.
“However, we must win this fight. We stand together with the people. We will fight until the end of dictatorship.”
Salai Mon Boi, a youth leader from the Chin minority, said the Saturday protest, which happened to fall on Chin National Day, was focused on four demands: getting rid of the constitution, ending dictatorship, a federal system and the release of all leaders.
“There are some people who don’t like NLD but we’re not talking about the NLD,” he said, referring to Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
Protests against the Feb. 1 coup that overthrew the elected government of the veteran democracy campaigner have taken place across the diverse country, even though the military has promised to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.
The demonstrators are demanding the restoration of the elected government, the release of Suu Kyi and others and the scrapping of a 2008 constitution, drawn up under military supervision, that gives the army a decisive role in politics.