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UN Warns Myanmar Against Harsh Response To Protesters

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Washington: The United Nations special envoy has warned Myanmar’s army of “severe consequences” for any harsh response to protesters demonstrating against this month’s coup in a call with the military leadership, a U.N. spokesman said.

Despite the deployment of armoured vehicles and soldiers to some major cities at the weekend, protesters demonstrated again on Monday to denounce the Feb. 1 takeover and demand the release of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.

Protests on Monday were smaller than the hundreds of thousands who had joined earlier demonstrations but broke out in many parts of the Southeast Asian country, where the coup has halted a decade of unsteady transition to democracy.

Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener spoke on Monday to the deputy head of the junta in what has become a rare channel of communication between Myanmar’s army and the outside world.

“Ms. Schraner Burgener has reinforced that the right of peaceful assembly must fully be respected and that demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said at the United Nations.

“She has conveyed to the Myanmar military that the world is watching closely, and any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences.”

In an account of the meeting, Myanmar’s army said junta Number Two, Soe Win, had discussed the administration’s plans and information on “the true situation of what’s happening in Myanmar”.

In addition to urging the army to respect human rights and democratic institutions, Schraner Burgener had also warned against internet blackouts, the U.N. spokesman said.

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