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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 March 2021

Hundreds gather in Japan and Thailand to protest against Myanmar military coup

Burmese protesters take to the streets after detention of Aung San Suu Kyi

Hundreds of Burmese protesters holding portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi gathered in Tokyo on Monday hours after the detention of the country's leaders in a sudden military coup.

The demonstrators, wearing face masks and carrying flags, stood outside the United Nations University in central Tokyo and called on the international body to further condemn the Myanmar military's actions.

"I'm worried [about my family], but more than them I'm worried about Aung San Suu Kyi," said Tin Htway, a 22-year-old Burmese restaurant worker who attended the protest.

Than Swe, president of the Union of Myanmar Citizen Association, said he wanted Ms Suu Kyi and all of the other democratically elected leaders to be released immediately.

"The military needs to acknowledge the results of the 2020 [election] and stop what they are doing right now," the 58-year-old said.

One of the protest organisers said nearly 800 people attended the demonstration on Monday.

In Bangkok, at least two people were injured in clashes between protesters and police after nearly 200 demonstrators gathered outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok.

The police arrested at least two people, the Thai legal monitoring group, iLaw, said.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party said on Monday that Ms Suu Kyi, the group's leader, called on the public not to accept a coup by the military and urged them to protest.

"The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship," the NLD said in a statement which carried Ms Suu Kyi's name.

"I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military."

Japan and Myanmar have long had close ties, with Tokyo a major donor over the years and scores of Japanese firms engaged in business activities there.

About 33,000 Burmese were living in Japan as of June last year, with almost half of them on "technical trainee" visas, which allow them to work in Japan.

The Japanese government on Monday urged Myanmar to release the arrested leaders and demanded restoration of democracy in the country.

Updated: February 1, 2021 08:26 PM

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