Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi stands trial facing fresh charges

The ousted leader appeared to be in "good health" and asked to see her legal team, reports say.Two new charges were announced against Ms Suu Kyi, who was arrested after the 1 February coup.Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets again despite Sunday seeing the deadliest day yet with 18 killed.

The deaths came as the military and police ramped up their response to demonstrations across the South East Asian nation over the weekend, firing into the crowds.

But protesters defied the crackdown on Monday, demanding the elected government be restored and Ms Suu Kyi and other leaders of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), be released from detention.

The military says it seized power because of alleged fraud in November's general elections, which saw the NLD win by a landslide.It has provided no proof of these allegations - instead, it has replaced the Election Commission and promised fresh polls in a year.

Where has Ms Suu Kyi been?

Ms Suu Kyi, 75, was arrested when the coup began on 1 February and had not been seen in public until today's hearing, when she appeared via video link at the court in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

It is unclear where she has been held over the past month, but some reports suggest she was detained at her home in Nay Pyi Taw before being moved to an undisclosed location.

Ms Suu Kyi originally faced two charges of illegally importing walkie talkies and violating Myanmar's natural disaster law, but further charges were added on Monday, including breaching Covid-19 restrictions during the election campaign and for causing "fear and alarm".

The initial charges carried sentences of up to three years in jail. It is not clear what punishment the new charges might carry, but she could reportedly be barred from running in future elections if convicted.

The case has been adjourned until 15 March.News agency Myanmar Now reported on Monday that ousted president Win Myint - a key ally of Ms Suu Kyi - had also been charged for incitement under the penal code.

Ms Suu Kyi's popularity has soared in Myanmar since her arrest, but her international reputation still remains tarnished by allegations that she turned a blind eye to ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority Rohingya community.

What else is happening today?

Protests have erupted again in multiple cities across the country. According to news agency AFP, one clash saw unarmed protesters fleeing after a volley of shots were fired. It is unclear if these were live rounds or rubber bullets.

The agency added that in Yangon, demonstrators were seen using makeshift items like bamboo poles, sofas and even tree branches to erect barricades across streets.Photos also showed tear gas being used against protesters. At least 21 people have been killed since the unrest began last month.

What's the context to all this?

Myanmar's military seized power on 1 February, declaring a state of emergency and handing all power over to General Min Aung Hlaing.Just days later, the civil disobedience movement began to emerge - professionals who are refusing to return to work in protest.

The movement quickly started to gain momentum and it wasn't long before hundreds of thousands of people began taking part in street protests.

Protests in recent days have seen an escalation of violence between police officers and civilians - with at least 18 people killed in a protest over the weekend.

Myanmar in profile

Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule.

Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing"

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