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Protests continue amid row over who represents Myanmar at UN

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Security forces in Myanmar have attempted to break up fresh anti-coup protests, firing rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators as a row broke out at the United Nations over who should be recognised as the Southeast Asian nation’s ambassador.

Police beat one person and arrested 10 people on Wednesday as they tried to disperse crowds in one protest hotspot in a northern district of Myanmar’s main city of Yangon, according to Frontier Magazine.

Police and soldiers also blocked off the Hledan Centre junction and fired tear gas at demonstrators in Yangon’s Sachaung, but the crowds regrouped minutes after dispersing, the Myanmar Now website reported.

Myanmar has been in chaos since February 1, when the military seized power in a coup and detained much of the country’s civilian leadership, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military justified the takeover with unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November 2020 election that returned Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) to power.

The power grab has triggered widespread international condemnation as well as nationwide demonstrations demanding a return to civilian rule.

Protesters use fire extinguishers as others hold homemade shields during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon [Stringer/AFP]
Protests continue amid row over who represents Myanmar at UNA protester holds a homemade shield during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon [Stringer/AFP]

At least 21 protesters have been killed in an ensuing crackdown, while Aung San Suu Kyi, who has not been seen in public since her detention, has been charged with four criminal charges, including publishing information that may “cause fear or alarm”, illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios, and violating a natural disaster law by staging a campaign rally during the coronavirus pandemic.

President Win Myint is also facing two new charges, his lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said on Wednesday, including breaching the constitution, an offence punishable by up to three years in prison.

He was also previously charged over violating protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19.

‘Unique situation’ at UN

In New York, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Moe Tun insisted that he remained the country’s legitimate representative after the military authorities sent a letter to the global body saying that the envoy had been dismissed from his post and that his deputy was now in charge.

The dismissal came after Kyaw Moe Tun made an emotional plea to a UN General Assembly meeting on Friday, calling for “the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy to the country.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed on Tuesday that the UN received two “contradictory” letters and is reviewing them to see who is the UN ambassador and whether the assembly’s Credentials Committee will get involved.

“We are in a very unique situation we have not seen in a long time,” Dujarric said. “We are trying to sort through all the legal, protocol and other implications” and are “trying to resolve things as quickly as possible from our end”.

The letter from Kyaw Moe Tun, sent on Monday to General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir with a copy to the secretary-general, said Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi appointed him last year and that they remained lawfully elected to their roles.

Protests continue amid row over who represents Myanmar at UNMyanmar’s President Win Myint was hit with additional charges on Wednesday [File: Soe Zeya Tun/Pool via Reuters]

“The perpetrators of the unlawful coup against the democratic government of Myanmar have no authority to countermand the legitimate authority of the president of my country,” Kyaw Moe Tun said in the letter.

“I wish therefore to confirm to you that I remain Myanmar’s permanent representative to the United Nations.”

The second letter to the secretary-general originated from Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was received on Tuesday, Dujarric said. It informed the UN that the State Administration Council, the body set up by the generals to run the country following the coup, had “terminated the duties and responsibilities” of ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun on February 27 and would no longer recognise his accreditation to the UN General Assembly.

Dated February 28, the letter said Myanmar’s deputy UN ambassador, Tin Maung Naing, had been assigned as the chargé d’affaires of the UN mission.

Dujarric said the UN had not received any official notification of any change to Myanmar’s government since the February 1 coup.

The rival claims to represent Myanmar will probably now need to be considered by a nine-member UN Credentials Committee that reports to the General Assembly, which will then make the final decision.

The US supported Kyaw Moe Tun and hailed his “bravery,” with a Department of State spokesman saying “we understand that the permanent representative remains in his position”.

“We will continue to oppose the military coup and we will continue to support the restoration of Burma’s democratically elected civilian government,” the US spokesman said.

US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield also held a virtual meeting with Kyaw Moe Tun on Tuesday to express her support.

Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Source – www.aljazeera.com

Bryan M. Hicks
Bryan M. Hicks
Bryan M. Hicks is a creative guy. He loves what he does, he is the best at video editing. This is a guy we look upto if anything creative we ever want to build at Ethical Editor.

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