Large Mandalay protest winding down peacefully
A crowd of at least 10,000 has turned out in central Mandalay today to protest against the regime, two days after a deadly crackdown on striking workers and demonstrators in the city left two people dead and more than 30 injured.
Organisers set up a stage outside the Mandalay Central Railway Station and gave speeches to the mixed crowd of students, teachers, workers, unionists, activists, farmers and more.
The crowd stretched for hundreds of metres west along 30th street as well as north and south along 78th street in the heart of the city.
Security forces made no attempt to disperse the gathering, ensuring there was no repeat of the violence from Saturday that had drawn strong international condemnation.
The protest has not yet wrapped up but the crowd is beginning to dwindle.
Protesters disperse to avoid potential clash with police
Thousands of people have left two key protest sites in Yangon in order to avoid potential clashes with police.
At the junction of Natmauk and Pho Sein roads in Bahan Township, riot police charged in formation towards protesters, beating their shields with their batons and yelling, eyewitnesses told us. The attempt to intimidate worked, with the crowd quickly dispersing.
The protesters had gathered at the junction because it was the closest they could get to the United Nations office further west along Natmauk Road, which had been blocked off by police.
The UN office has been a focal point for demonstrators, who even handed over a letter to the “UN high commissioner” last Wednesday.
The police who cleared the protest at around 3pm arrived from the west, having come up from U Htaung Bo roundabout.
“The police came towards us, hitting their shields with sticks and shouting,” one woman on the scene told a Frontier reporter.
When Frontier spoke to her, the last of the riot police were heading south towards the Hmyaw Sin Kyun entrance to Kandawgyi Park.
Elsewhere in Yangon, protesters also dispersed peacefully to avoid a potential confrontation.
A crowd of thousands staged a sit-in protest in front of a police blockade at the junction of University Avenue and Inya Road, beside the American Center. Police set up the barricades around 11am this morning.
At around 2:30pm, protest leaders announced, “Today we are victorious. We staged our peaceful protest. Let’s disperse – we don’t want any violence.”
Nearly all of them then left the scene, although most seemed to be heading to other protest sites, particularly Hledan, where there is still a large crowd.
Ref : Frontier Myanmar
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