• MAY 31, 2023

Myanmar anti-coup protests shut businesses

Myanmar Engineering Union members march with banners in Yangon. Shops and workplaces in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw were shut on Monday as people there answered a call for a general strike. Courtesy

  • Industry
  • AFP, Yangon
  • Published: 23 Feb 2021, 11:23 AM

Businesses shut in Myanmar on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military coup and thousands of protesters gathered despite a threat from authorities that confrontation could cost lives. Myanmar police began to disperse pro-democracy protesters. 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. 

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

In the capital, Naypyitaw, where the military is headquartered, a police water cannon truck and numerous other vehicles closed in to break up a procession of chanting protesters who scattered when police on foot chased them, wrestling several to the ground.  “They’re chasing and arresting us. We’re just protesting peacefully,” one woman said in video clip posted on Facebook.

The response of security forces this time has been less deadly than in crackdowns in earlier phases of turmoil in almost half a century of military rule but three protesters have been killed - two shot dead in Mandalay on Saturday, and the first, a woman shot in Naypyitaw, who died on Friday.

The army has said one policeman died of injuries sustained in the protests. Late on Sunday, state-owned media MRTV warned that protesters they could get killed. “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.

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