Strike grips Myanmar, anti-coup protesters defy junta's lethal warning
Businesses shut in Myanmar on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military coup and thousands of protesters gathered in towns and cities despite a chilling message from the junta that confrontation would cost more lives.
New Delhi: Businesses shut in Myanmar on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military coup and thousands of protesters gathered in towns and cities despite a chilling message from the junta that confrontation would cost more lives.
On Sunday, hundreds of people attended the funeral in the capital Naypyitaw of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, a young woman who became a symbol of resistance after being shot in the head on Feb.9 while protesting.
On Saturday, two more protesters were killed when police opened fire in the city of Mandalay, marking the bloodiest day in the campaign for the restoration of democracy.
Yet, three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop daily protests and a civil disobedience movement calling for the reversal of the Feb. 1 coup and release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Everyone is joining this,” said San San Maw, 46, at the Hledan junction in the main city of Yangon, which has become a rallying point for the protests. “We need to come out.”
State-owned media MRTV warned protesters against action on Monday.
“Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a path of confrontation where they will suffer loss of life,” it said.
Htet Htet Hlaing, 22, said she was scared and had prayed before joining Monday’s demonstration, but would not be discouraged.
“We don’t want the junta, we want democracy. We want to create our own future,” she said. “My mother didn’t stop me from coming out, she only said ‘take care’.”
In a country where dates are seen as auspicious, protesters noted the significance of the date 22.2.2021, comparing it with demonstrations on Aug. 8, 1988 when a previous generation staged anti-military protests which were bloodily suppressed.
The response of security forces this time has been less deadly. Aside from the three protesters that have been killed, the army has said one policeman died of injuries in protests.
The deaths in Mandalay did not discourage protesters on Sunday, when they turned out again in tens of thousands there and in Yangon and elsewhere.
Author and historian Thant Myint-U said the window for a peaceful resolution was closing.
“The outcome of the coming weeks will be determined by just two things: the will of an army that’s crushed many protests before and the courage, skill and determination of the protesters (much of society),” he said on Twitter. (Reuters)