Scores of people in Myanmar’s largest city honked car horns and banged on pots and pans on Tuesday evening in the first known public resistance to the coup led a day earlier by the country’s military.
What was initially planned to take place for just a few minutes extended to more than a quarter of an hour in several neighbourhoods of Yangon.
Shouts could be heard wishing detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi good health and calling for freedom.
“Beating a drum in Myanmar culture is like we are kicking out the devils,” said one participant who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals.
Several pro-democracy groups had asked people to make noise at 8pm to show their opposition to the coup.
A senior politician and close confidante of Ms Suu Kyi also urged citizens to defy the military through civil disobedience.
Win Htein, a leader of Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, spoke from a small party office in the capital, Naypyitaw, not far from where hundreds of lawmakers elected in November national polls were detained when the military seized power on Monday in a lightning takeover.
“The curse of the coup is rooted in our country and this is the reason why our country still remains poor. I feel sad and upset for our fellow citizens and for their future,” the former political prisoner said.
“All the voters who gave their backing to us in the 2020 general election should follow Aung San Suu Kyi’s instructions to carry out civil disobedience,” he said, referring to a note posted on Monday on Facebook attributed to her.
The military began to lift restrictions on Tuesday on the hundreds of members of Parliament who had been confined at a guarded government housing complex, with the new government telling them to go back to their homes, party spokesman Kyi Toe said.
He said Ms Suu Kyi was in good health at a separate location where she was being held and would stay there for the time being. His comments could not immediately be confirmed.
The coup came as lawmakers gathered in the capital for the opening of a new parliamentary session. The military said the seizure was necessary because the government had not acted on the military’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud in November’s election, in which Ms Suu Kyi’s party won a majority of seats.
It claimed the takeover was legal under the constitution. The move was widely condemned abroad.