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Unclear if detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi is aware of situation in Myanmar, lawyer says as protests rage on

Unclear if detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi is aware of situation in Myanmar, lawyer says as protests rage on
Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains detained since the recent coup began, could be unaware of the ongoing turmoil in the country that might be facing an “imminent bloodbath,” according to the UN.

A lawyer representing the ousted leader, Min Min Soe, said Thursday she was not entirely sure if she was aware of the protests and brutal military crackdown rocking Myanmar since February 1. She added that she was unable to tell the ousted leaders about the ongoing situation in the country.

The ousted state counselor and some of her fellow politicians, who have remained detained since the coup, have been recently slapped with additional charges based on an antique, colonial-era official secrets act, the chief lawyer representing the politicians, Khin Maung Zaw, told Reuters by phone. The charges came atop of the barrage of accusations Suu Kyi earlier faced from the military, ranging from bribery to smuggling illegal electronic devices into the country.

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At least 538 civilians have been killed during the two-month unrest in the country, according to estimates by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group. Last weekend turned out to be the deadliest so far, with at least 141 killed on Saturday alone.

Despite the brutal crackdown unleashed by the military on the anti-coup protesters, the unrest continues to rock the country. On Thursday, a new wave of protests was staged by anti-coup activists. The rallies involved burning copies of the military-framed constitution, footage from the scene shows.

The ongoing unrest is feared to get even worse, with the UN special envoy to Myanmar warning that the country has been standing on the eve of an “imminent bloodbath.” Speaking before the UN Security Council on Wednesday, special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener urged the body to consider not only diplomacy but a “potentially significant action” to prevent it.

“Already vulnerable groups requiring humanitarian assistance including ethnic minorities and the Rohingya people will suffer most, but inevitably, the whole country is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state,” Schraner Burgener said. “I will remain open to dialogue and continue to signal this but if we wait only for when [the military leaders] are ready to talk, the ground situation will only worsen. A bloodbath is imminent.”

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Myanmar descended into chaos following the February 1 coup, when the military ousted the civilian government, accusing it of committing fraud during the recent election. The coup prompted mass protests that the military has been trying to squash by force.

While the military has promised to eventually hold new elections and surrender power back to civilians, it has provided no timeframe for doing so. The coup ended a short nine-year period of civilian rule in the country, which spent decades under direct military control, from the early 1960s until 2011.

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