Myanmar activists call for Armed Forces Day protests

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar activists have called for major anti-coup protests this weekend as the junta marks Armed Forces Day, after a firebomb attack on deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party headquarters.

The country has been in turmoil since the military ousted the Nobel laureate in a lightning putsch on February 1, triggering an uprising demanding a return to democracy.

Before dawn yesterday, the Yangon offices of her National League for Democracy (NLD) were hit by a Molotov cocktail, which caused a brief fire. The attack left only minor damage, but the party has been in disarray since the coup, with many of its top leaders including Suu Kyi in detention and some of its MPs in hiding.

Smoke rises over Thaketa township in Yangon on March 27, 2021, as security forces continue to crackdown on protests against the military coup. AFP

“We have to file a complaint to the police… We do not know who did this, but it is not good at all,” Soe Win, an NLD member in charge of the headquarters, told AFP. The incident came on the eve of today’s Armed Forces Day, when the military will put on a show of strength with its annual parade.

Fears have been swirling that the day could become a flashpoint, as security forces have continued to crack down on activists, protesters and political allies of Suu Kyi.

Activists raised a call for nationwide protests against the junta today. “The time has arrived again to fight the military’s oppression,” said prominent activist Ei Thinzar Maung in a Facebook post.