Protesters against military rule marched in Myanmar three months after a coup ended a democratic transition, with several small blasts compounding a sense of crisis that a U.N. envoy warned could bring state administration to a halt.
The military has tried to end dissent and impose its authority on a people largely opposed to the return of rule by the generals after 10 years of democratic reforms that included a government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi.
Despite a relentless crackdown in which at least 759 protesters have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, crowds come out day after day to reject the junta.
“Our cause, democracy, our cause, a federal union. Free arrested leaders,” protesters chanted at one of two rallies in the main city of Yangon.
People also rallied in the second city of Mandalay and the southern town of Dawei, media reported.
The U.N. special envoy on Myanmar told the Security Council on Friday that in the absence of a collective international response to the coup, violence was worsening and the running of the state risked coming to a standstill, according to diplomats who attended the private meeting.
Ousted members of parliament from Suu Kyi’s party, politicians representing ethnic minorities and democracy activists set up the unity government but it has yet to win the international recognition it says it is due.
The U.N. Security Council reiterated its “deep concern” at the situation and its support for Myanmar’s democratic transition. The council has issued several statements since the coup but diplomats say Russia and China are likely to prevent any stronger council action against Myanmar.