Two more charges filed against Suu Kyi as cops crack down on protests

YANGON : Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared at a court hearing through videoconferencing yesterday as supporters marched in several towns and cities in defiance of Sunday's crackdown, the bloodiest since the Feb 1 military coup.

The police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters in the main city of Yangon yesterday, witnesses said. They later combed through side streets firing rubber bullets, and at least one person was hurt, the media reported.

Ms Suu Kyi, 75, looked to be in good health during her appearance before a court in the capital Naypyitaw, one of her lawyers said. Two more charges were added to those filed against her after the coup.

"I saw Amay on the video, she looks healthy," lawyer Min Min Soe told Reuters, using an affectionate term meaning "mother".

The Nobel Peace laureate, who leads the National League for Democracy, has not been seen in public since her government was ousted and she was detained along with other party leaders.

She was initially charged with illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. Later, a charge of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols was added.

Yesterday, two more charges were added - one under a section of a colonial-era penal code prohibiting publication of information that may "cause fear or alarm", and the other under a telecommunications law stipulating licences for equipment, the lawyer said.

The next hearing will be on March 15. Critics of the coup say the charges were trumped up.

On Sunday, the police fired on crowds in several places, killing 18, the United Nations human rights office said.- REUTERS