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Myanmar forces arrest humorist, disperse doctors’ protest

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar authorities on Tuesday arrested the country’s most prominent comedian as they continue to crack down on people accused of helping incite nationwide protests against the February military coup.

The satirist Zar Arganar was taken from his home in Yangon by police and soldiers, who arrived in two army vehicles. The 60-year-old Gan Arganar is a sharp-tongued satirist who was imprisoned and released from prison because he was active in the failed popular uprising against the previous 1988 dictatorship. He is also well known for his social work, especially in helping the victims of Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Last week, the junta issued arrest warrants for at least 60 people active in the fields of literature, film, theater, music and journalism on charges of disseminating information that undermined the country’s stability and the rule of law. It was not immediately clear what the gan argan, whose real name is Maung Tura, was accused of.

According to numerous reports on social networks, ordinary demonstrators and activists are arrested every day.

In Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, security forces used stun grenades on Tuesday to disperse protesters marching in protest of the February 1 coup that ousted Aung San’s elected government. Suu Kyi’s rule pushed back Myanmar’s gradual return to democracy after five decades of military rule.

One of the participants, who asked to remain anonymous for his safety, told the Associated Press that doctors, nurses and medical students were attacked at 5 a.m. when they were gathered by security forces who used cars to collide with motorcyclists. for: The online news website Iravad reports that four doctors have been arrested.

At least 570 passers-by, including 47 children, were killed in the crackdown, according to the Association for the Support of Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests. The group says 2,728 people, including Su Qin, have been arrested.

Activists have begun boycotting next week Tingyan, the country’s traditional New Year celebration, which is usually a time for family reunions and fun.

In leaflets and social media messages, they beg people not to hold Tingyan celebrations, saying that it would be disrespectful to the “fallen martyrs” to enjoy the festival.

The leaders of Brunei և Malaysia announced on Monday that the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet to discuss the situation in Myanmar.

A statement issued by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhiddin Yassin during his visit to Brunei did not specify a date. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said they were “seriously concerned about the growing number of victims of the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.” Indonesian President Joko Widido last month offered to hold a summit on Myanmar.

There was no word on whether ASEAN leaders would attend in person or by video, or whether one of the group’s 10 members, Myanmar, would attend.

The Myanmar junta has also fought in some border areas where ethnic minority groups maintain their armed forces. Several large groups, notably Karen and Kachin, have expressed solidarity with the counter-coup movement and vowed to protect protesters in their area of ​​control.

The Kachins in the north of the country fought with government troops, but the Karen in the east bore the brunt of the junta’s military offensive.

The area where the Karen National Union operates has been under airstrikes by the Myanmar Armed Forces since Monday, March 27, said David Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers humanitarian organization, which has provided medical care to Karen villagers for many years. Burma is another name for Myanmar.

Eubank said its group had checked that 14 civilians had been killed and more than 40 wounded in the airstrikes. He said on Tuesday that Myanmar’s armed forces were launching a ground offensive in the Karen area, driving villagers out of their homes, bringing the number of displaced people to more than 20,000, many of them forced to hide in caves or jungles, and desperate. need for food and other necessities.

“The situation now, from our point of view, seems to be the end of the whole war,” Eubank wrote in an e-mail on Monday. “As long as there is no miracle, the Burmese army will not stop Karen from trying to crush any other ethnic group against them, just as they did not stop killing their Burmese people in the cities and fields of Burma.”

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