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Strike shuts Myanmar, anti-coup protesters defy junta warning


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Strike shuts Myanmar, anti-coup protesters defy junta warning

 

2021-02-22T105528Z_1_LYNXMPEH1L0K8_RTROPTP_4_MYANMAR-POLITICS.JPG

Demonstrators hold placards with pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 22, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

 

(Reuters) - A general strike against military rule shut businesses in Myanmar on Monday and huge crowds gathered peacefully despite fears of violence after authorities warned that confrontation could be deadly.

 

Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop the 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.

 

Hundreds of thousands gathered in cities and towns across the country, from the northern hills on the border with China to the central plains, the Irrawaddy river delta and the southern tip of the panhandle, social media images showed.

 

For protester Kyaw Kyaw in the main city of Yangon, losing pay to join the strike was a small price to pay.

 

"Nothing's going to happen if my salary is cut but if we stay under a military dictatorship we'll be slaves," he said.

 

In the capital, Naypyitaw, where the military is headquartered, a police water cannon truck and a fleet of other vehicles closed in to break up a procession of chanting protesters who scattered when police on foot rushed in, wrestling several to the ground.

 

The response of security forces this month has been less deadly than in earlier bouts of turmoil in almost half a century of direct military rule but three protesters have been killed - two shot dead in Mandalay on Saturday, and a woman who died on Friday after being shot more than a week earlier in Naypyitaw.

 

The army has said one policeman died of injuries sustained during the protests.

 

Many civil servants have been staying away from work as part of the civil disobedience campaign and government services have been crippled. The military has accused protesters of intimidation and provoking violence.

 

Late on Sunday, state-owned media MRTV warned that confrontation could cost lives.

 

"Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer loss of life," the broadcaster said.

 

Facebook said on Monday it had removed MRTV's pages for violations of its standards, including its violence and incitement policy. On Sunday, it deleted the military's main page for the same reason.

 

'WE'RE GOING'

 

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 that were bloodily suppressed.

 

But that and the government warning did not put people off.

 

"We need to come out," said San San Maw, 46, at a main rallying point in Yangon.

 

Later, riot police lined up, apparently preparing to disperse protesters from outside a U.N. office, but the crowd broke up after singing a festive song that features the line: "Goodbye, we're going".

 

Crowds elsewhere in Yangon melted away by late afternoon.

 

As well as local stores, international chains announced closures on Monday, including Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and delivery service Food Panda, owned by Delivery Hero. Southeast Asian company Grab stopped delivery services too, but left its taxis running.

 

Authorities were "exercising utmost restraint", the foreign ministry said. It rebuked some countries for remarks it described as interference in Myanmar's internal affairs.

 

Several Western countries have condemned the coup and decried violence against protesters.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter the United States would continue to "take firm action" against authorities violently cracking down on opponents of the coup.

 

Britain, Germany and Japan have condemned the violence and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the military to stop repression.

 

The generals put up with years of sanctions after crushing the 1988 protests and are likely to shrug off pressure again.

 

The army seized power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections in which Suu Kyi's party trounced a pro-military party, detaining her and much of the party leadership. The electoral commission dismissed the fraud complaints.

 

Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 640 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup - including former members of government and opponents of the coup.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-22
 
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" Myanmar's foreign ministry on Sunday justified its use of force against protesters, and accused the United Nations and other governments of "flagrant interference" in the country's internal affairs."

 

Pure arrogance .

Some ' wanna be king ' generals treat their own countries people like s-hit , and want to continue doing so without foreign interference ...

Shame on them .

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42 minutes ago, nobodysfriend said:

Some ' wanna be king ' generals treat their own countries people like s-hit , and want to continue doing so without foreign interference ...

Shame on them .

 

Well, well... there is another country doing so, too.

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3 hours ago, nobodysfriend said:

Unlucky if born in Myanmar ... nice people but very poor due to failed policies of the government . Forced to work in Thailand , many now simply will not want to go back to Myanmar anymore . A life as a ' slave ' worker in Thailand is still better than  being violently oppressed by their own military government . What a choice !

I hope that they manage to forever get rid of that exploiting government and , finally , become a free country .

Burma has a lot of beautiful islands and beaches , but tourism is non existant or underdeveloped .

In a post Covid world , with an elected and good government in place there might be no need anymore for them to find a low paid job in Thailand ...

But wait ... who will do the dirty work in Thailand then ?

So , probably not in Thailand's interest ...?

 

 

 

Guess you have not been in the past 5 years,  Plenty of tourist areas to  visit with all the facilitates,  (Mandalay, Bagan, Inle lake) where there are truly 5 star resorts

Ngwe Saung Beach is a very nice beach tourist area and the beaches down south and the islands i will agree with you are underdeveloped but thats what makes them so attractive.

and than you have many many other places.

 

Traveling extensively thru Burma in the past 6 years reminds me of travelling thru Thailand in the 70's, 80's

as to poverty, i find, Laos and Cambodia  have more visible poverty

 

Many of the Burmese living and working in thailand in 2018,2019 were hopeful of leaving thailand and heading back home as business was booming and they could almost get a living wage..

This coup has put an end to that..

 

 

Edited by zzzzz
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was there in 88 and saw how the military reacts 

I really fear it wont be long till their true colors show thru>>

 

Many fear the recent prison release was to stir things up and also make room for the future detainees

its a no win for those demonstrating and sanctions dont mean squat to the junta.  

 

Sadly Burma is just not yet ready for democracy

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3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

was there in 88

Time , and internet , has changed a lot , since .

 

3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

Many fear the recent prison release was to stir things up and also make room for the future detainees

That is right . They have ' experience '  on how to keep the population in fear and obedient .

But in today's world everybody knows  ... may be that weakens their position ...?

 

3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

Burma is just not yet ready for democracy

That's wrong .

The people are ready for it , but some mighty general wants to be the ruler of the country together with ' big brother , and small brother , exactly the 2 countries who vetoed the UN resolution against the coup ...

The will of the ordinary people is ignored , just as how it happened before already ... I hope that the burmese army allows new elections very fast . If not there is a potential civil war in preparation ... or another massacre ...

Being Asian these burmese generals seem to not care about ' face ' or the loss of it ...

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