Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar took to the streets for a sixth consecutive day on Thursday after US President Joe Biden announced sanctions against country's generals and demanded they relinquish power, reported AFP. There has been an outpour of anger and defiance in Myanmar, ever since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week and detained her along with other senior figures of her National League for Democracy party.
While police ramped up their harassment of the NLD with a raid on its headquarters, security forces have used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against the protesters, with isolated reports of live rounds also being fired.
Demonstrators, however, marched peacefully on Thursday in Naypyidaw, the capital and military stronghold. They were demonstrations in Yangon, which is the largest city and commercial hub, which saw tens of thousands flood into the streets.
A group of protesters outside Myanmar's central bank in Yangon chanted, "Don't go to the office," as part of an effort urging civil servants and people in other industries to boycott work and put pressure on the junta.
One protesting bank employee said, "We aren't doing this for a week or a month -- we are determined to do this until the end when (Suu Kyi) and President U Win Myint are released."
Dozens from the ethnic Karen, Rakhine and Kachin minority groups joined the protests and marched down Yangon's main Myaynigone junction.
Saw Z Net, an ethnic Karen protester and sound engineer, said, "Our ethnic armed groups and ethnic people have to join together to fight against the military dictatorship."
There are more than 130 ethnic minority groups across Myanmar, some of whom have been forced to flee their homes due to clashes between the military and ethnic armed groups, who agitate for autonomy in various states.
Fresh rallies also cropped up in the cities of Dawei and Mandalay, with protesters carrying signs that said "Restore our Democracy!" and "We condemn the military coup".
In the ancient city of Bagan, a UNESCO heritage site, hundreds of protesters dressed in traditional outfits marched between the temples and pagodas, hoisted painted portraits of Suu Kyi in the air and called for the military to "Free our leader".
Western nations have repeatedly denounced the coup, with the United States leading calls for the generals to relinquish power.
In the most significant concrete action to pressure the junta, Biden announced Wednesday that his administration was cutting off the generals' access to $1 billion in funds in the United States.
"I again call on the Burmese military to immediately release democratic political leaders and activists," Biden said, as he flagged further sanctions.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also warned the bloc could impose fresh sanctions on Myanmar's military.
There were more reports of arrests Thursday, including the deputy speaker of the parliament's lower house and a key aide to Suu Kyi, taking the number of coup-linked detentions to more than 200, according to monitor Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.