Protesters Rally Across Myanmar, Defying Coup and Risking Crackdown
We start today's program with the ongoing turbulence in myanmar. Massive crowds of protesters have taken to the streets as demonstrations continue against last week's coup in which the army detained elected leader. Angsana suci over the weekend me and my its largest protests in more than ten years. It's also reported that police in the capital have used water cannon on workers conducting nationwide strikes for more on this. We're joined now by professor penny green. Who's amendment expert and director of the international state crime initiative. A penny. good afternoon to you. Thanks for being with us. Just tell us first of all about your reaction to what we've seen and indeed heard about over the weekend Water cannon deployed these huge protests This is something quite different than we've seen for well more than a decade yes indeed. The last massive set of protest took place in two thousand and seven. And and i think it's. It's really quite remarkable. What's happening inside. Myanmar at the moment and the courage of the demonstrators is is really phenomenal. I think that many of these people especially the young have really effectively only known some kind of democracy albeit very fragile. I mean it was very very weak democracy but the freedom that came with after five decades of military rule is something that the people of do not want to let go of. I'm penny we'll talk. Maybe in a moment about what the military's reaction to this might be sort of medium-term in a second. But i did want to ask you about that point about the this as brickley democracy as you pointed out it is nevertheless it. Is you know thirteen. Fourteen years of that and so many people who are teenagers young people students will only have known that. Do you think that reflects. I don't know if it's a miscalculation by the military but it may be an underestimation of exactly how wedded to those notions. This this younger demographic all is it probably is a miscalculation. I think that the military scared basically very fearful of the power of the people of myanmar. They lost so badly there. They're usd pm. Military party lost extremely badly in the november twenty elections And as a result. I think Recognized in some senses that the writing perhaps was on the wall and the only way that they could shore up. The future of their their authority was to initiate a coup. I mean there are all sorts of other explanations for the kutu loudly relating to the the power and wealth of Commander in chief gentleman lie. But i do think that they have probably miscalculated But it's it's also true to say that the man my people. The burmese historically have risen up against the brutality and repression of military hunters in the past particularly nine hundred ninety eight and again in two thousand and seven even though they hadn't been tasting democracy in the recent past. So i think that there is that that there is that desire for freedom which will emerge. I'm presented itself in. These kinds of situations are well short term than the police have been very clear as as we mentioned you know that's been the deployment of water cannon In napa all ready and you know it's been presented as very much a choice to the protesters leave move on or face force potentially increasing force. Do we have any sense of the lengths to which the military and police authorities will go to in terms of escalating that force in terms of the potential for more violence on the streets. Well we look at history. We know that this military is capable of the most barbarous repression. We only have to look at the genocide hinge which took place in over the last over this infect period of so-called democracy But the worst of it was saying in two thousand seventeen when thousands were killed and eight. Hundred thousand were driven across the border into bangladesh. And if we could look back historically to two thousand to two thousand and seventeen to nineteen ninety eight. The military deployed Brutal force against all forms of demonstrators. So we know that that is on the cards. And they have issued a message via state media to the people of myanmar now to say that unless you abide by the law you have to expect that there will be A reaction and that reaction. The people of myemma know well. We'll be one of violence.