Feb 14, 2021 - World

Myanmar army suspends laws limiting forces as anti-coup protests continue

Protesters hold up signs calling for the release of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Protesters hold up signs calling for the release of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangoon. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Myanmar's military leaders on Saturday suspended a law that limits security forces and ordered the arrests of prominent backers of the anti-coup protests taking place across the country, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The move came as mass protests against the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected civilian government entered their second week.

Details: Myanmar's army suspended three sections of laws “protecting the privacy and security of the citizens," which included a requirement for a court order to hold prisoners longer than 24 hours, per Reuters.

  • The laws also limited the ability of security forces to search or make arrests on private property.

Between the lines: "The announcements bore echoes of the near half-century of military rule before reforms began, when the Southeast Asian country was one of the world’s most repressive and isolated states," Reuters noted.

Myanmar's army on Saturday also announced arrest warrants for several prominent individuals who have been critical of the military on social media.

  • More than 350 political and state officials, activists and civil society members, including journalists and monks, have been arrested since Feb. 1 coup, the United Nations Human Rights Council said Friday.
  • "Several face criminal charges on dubious grounds. Most have received no form of due process and have not been permitted legal representation, family visitations or communication," the UN said.

The big picture: Several Western countries and the UN have condemned the coup and demanded the release of those detained, including Suu Kyi.

  • President Biden on Wednesday announced a series of steps in response to the coup, including withholding "$1 billion in Burmese government funds" held in the U.S. and imposing sanctions against the military leaders behind the coup.

Go deeper: Myanmar military broadens internet crackdown

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