Spokesperson for Suu Kyi’s party detained in Myanmar

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Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi

dpa/GNA – A key spokesperson for the National League of Democracy (NLD), the party of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was detained on Friday, according to party members, as last month’s coup continues to reverberate through the country.

The spokesperson, Kyi Toe, and at least one other party member are now in custody, according to party member Phyo Zayar Thaw. Kyi Toe has been the NLD member most often in contact with the media since the February 1 coup and the most responsible for sharing the party’s comments in recent weeks.

Party officials said they are worried he is now being tortured.

The other detainee is reportedly a youth member of the NLD.

The military has been lashing out against huge sections of Myanmar society ever since the February 1 coup, largely because so many people have protested so regularly against the move to throw Suu Kyi out of power. Clashes have grown deadlier in recent weeks, with the numbers of dead now past 200 and detentions also rising sharply.

Despite the new detentions, there were still multiple reports of protests against the coup all over the country on Friday, but those were also matched by reports of harsh crackdowns from security forces, resulting in more deaths.

“We are not safe and they are only attacking people.” said Htoo Myat of Thingangyun Township, who told dpa that members of the security forces were harassing people throughout the night. In some cases they were forcing residents to tear down barricades, which protesters have erected across the country to keep troops out of neighbourhoods where support for Suu Kyi is strong.

But security forces were not only destroying the barricades. There were also reports that troops destroyed about 30 cars owned by civilians in Thingangyun Township during the night-time raids.

The crisis is forcing other regional leaders to wonder if they should intervene.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday called for an immediate end to violence in Myanmar and a summit of South-East Asian leaders to discuss the political crisis.

“Indonesia calls for an immediate end to the use of violence in Myanmar to prevent further loss of lives,” Joko said at a news conference.

Joko said the safety of the Myanmar people was paramount.

“I will hold talks with the sultan of Brunei as chairman of ASEAN for the possibility of an ASEAN summit to discuss the crisis in Myanmar,” he said, referring to the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

Observers in Indonesia have urged Jakarta to help its neighbour back on the path to democracy, noting its assistance when Myanmar’s military ceded power to a civilian government about a decade ago.

After a meeting in Thailand with Myanmar’s top diplomat, Wunna Maung Lwin, late last month, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi urged the military rulers to listen to the wishes of the people and allow humanitarian access to detainees.

“The wishes of the Myanmar people must be heard,” said Retno, who has toured ASEAN member states to seek a common regional stance on the coup.

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