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Thousands of people demonstrate again in Myanmar against the military coup

 Thousands of anti-coup protesters in Myanmar returned to the streets on Sunday, when an internet blackout failed to quell growing outrage over the removal of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi by the army.

The new rally followed the largest protests to date on Saturday, when tens of thousands turned out in cities across the country to condemn the coup that halted a 10-year experiment with democracy.

Thousands of enthusiastic protesters marched in Yangon, backed by the blare of car horns. They held banners, including some that read "We don't want a military dictatorship," and the distinctive red flags of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

"We will go ahead and keep demanding until we get democracy. Down with the military dictatorship," said 37-year-old protester Myo Win.

Some showed the three-finger salute inspired by the "Hunger Games" movies and used as a symbol of resistance by pro-democracy protesters in Thailand last year.

Despite the large-scale deployment of riot police, backed up by water cannons, there have been no major clashes so far.

Thousands of people demonstrate again in Myanmar against the military coup

"# Myanmar's army and police must ensure that the right to peaceful assembly is fully respected and that protesters are not subjected to retaliation," the United Nations Human Rights office tweeted after protests on Saturday.

The surge in popular dissent over the weekend overturned a nationwide internet blackout, similar in magnitude to an earlier shutdown that coincided with the arrest of Suu Kyi and other top leaders on Monday.

Online calls to protest the army's takeover of power have sparked bold displays of defiance, including the deafening nightly clamor of people across the country banging on pots and pans, a practice traditionally associated with the driving out of evil spirits.

Yangon residents repeated the pot knock at 8 a.m. Sunday.

- Civil disobedience -

As the protests gained steam this week, the board ordered telecommunications networks to freeze access to Facebook, an extremely popular service in the country and possibly its main means of communication.

The platform had hosted a rapidly growing "Civil Disobedience Movement" forum that had inspired public officials, health professionals and teachers to show their disagreement by boycotting their jobs.

On Sunday, a Facebook live video feed showed Yangon protesters marching through the streets, as well as police with riot control personnel waiting in some locations.

It was not immediately clear how the broadcast was bypassing the government blockade.

The military had expanded its efforts to quell organized dissent on Friday when it demanded new blocks on other social media services, including Twitter.

"The generals are now trying to paralyze the citizen resistance movement and keep the outside world in the dark, cutting off virtually all access to the Internet," said Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.

- International condemnation -

An immensely popular figure despite a tarnished reputation in the West, Suu Kyi has not been seen in public since the coup, but a party spokesman said Friday that she was under house arrest and "in good health."

Two days after her removal, criminal charges were brought against her related to the illegal importation of a set of walkie-talkies.

The military had signaled her intentions by hitting her days in advance, insisting that the NLD's landslide victory in the November elections was the result of electoral fraud.

The favored parties of the army were defeated in the vote.

Following the seizure of power, the junta proclaimed a one-year state of emergency after which it promised to hold new elections, without offering a precise calendar.

The coup has been widely condemned by the international community, and US President Joe Biden led calls for the generals to step down from power and release those arrested in the post-coup crackdown.

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