A general strike against the military coup in Myanmar closed businesses on Monday (22) and large crowds demonstrated in various parts of the country. The acts were committed even after the military junta warned that activists risked death while going to protests.
On Monday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in different cities. Monday’s protests were the largest since the February 1 coup, according to the Washington Post.
The date was chosen for major acts because it has five numbers two: “02/22/2021”. Activists saw this as linked to “8/8/1988”, a day of large protests against another military regime that dominated the country some 33 years ago.
According to NetBlocks, a UK-based entity, military officials cut internet access again at dawn Monday, for the eighth night in a row.
In the capital, Naypiytaw, water cannons fired by police stopped a march by protesters. The jets threw several of them to the ground.
In Rangoon, the largest city in the country. thousands of people gathered. In one of those acts, protesters sat on the ground and raised flags in support of ousted head of government Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since February 1 in an unknown location.
Many markets and other commercial establishments have remained closed in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement. Demonstrations were also recorded in the towns of Myitkyina (north) and Dawei (south).
“We are here to participate in the protest, to fight to victory,” student Kyaw Kyaw, 23, said in Rangoon. “Nothing will happen if my salary is reduced, but if we are under a military dictatorship we will be slaves,” he told Reuters.
“The military has unfairly seized power from the elected civilian government,” said a 29-year-old protester who asked not to be named. “We will fight until we get our freedom, our democracy and our justice.”
On Sunday evening, authorities warned that “protesters urge people, especially elated teenagers and young people, to follow the path of confrontation in which they will die,” a Burmese statement read on state television said. MRTV, with English subtitles.
On Sunday, activists paid tribute to the first fatal victim of the crackdown, a young woman who has become an icon of the resistance. The funeral of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who was shot in the head and died after 10 days in hospital, brought together thousands in the suburb of Naypyidaw.
On Saturday, two people died in Mandalay and a third in Rangoon, victims of police repression. According to the association for the assistance of political prisoners, 640 people have been arrested since the coup.
The concern of the international community is growing. UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday condemned the “brute force” used by the military. “I call on the Burmese army to immediately stop the crackdown, release the prisoners, end the violence and respect the human rights and the will of the people expressed in the recent elections,” Guterres said , at the opening of the 46th session of the United Nations. Human Rights Council, United Nations.
Also on Monday, European Union foreign ministers warned that they were ready to adopt sanctions against the military, after the United States, United Kingdom and Canada made decisions on the matter.
Myanmar’s foreign ministry called the foreign measures “blatant interference” in the country’s internal affairs. “Despite the illegal demonstrations, incitement to unrest and violence, the authorities are exercising great restraint, using as little force as possible to deal with the unrest,” the ministry said in a statement.
The military attempted to use alleged election fraud charges to justify the seizure of power. The military also added to the narrative the argument that the country’s electoral commission used the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to prevent a fair campaign. They also claim to have acted in accordance with the Constitution and that the majority of the population supports their conduct, accusing the protesters of inciting violence.
On February 1, General Hlaing declared a one-year state of emergency. “We will implement a true multi-party democracy,” said the new regime, adding that power will be transferred after “the holding of free and fair general elections”. The promise, though repeated, is viewed with skepticism by opponents of Myanmar and international observers.
The LND, Suu Kyi’s party that has ruled the country since 2015, won 83% of the vote and won 396 of 476 seats in parliament in Myanmar’s latest elections, held in November last year. The legend, however, was unable to take over when the coup was implemented on the day the new legislature was inaugurated. The Military-backed Solidarity and Development Union Party won only 33 seats. We are a family business.
Myanmar has a violent record of reactions to protests. During the 1988 uprising, more than 3,000 protesters were killed by the country’s security forces in acts against the military regime – the country lived under a dictatorship from 1962 to 2011.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF MYANMAR
1948: Former British colony, Myanmar becomes an independent country 1962: General Ne Win abolishes the Constitution of 1947 and establishes a military regime 1974: Beginning of the first post-independence constitution 1988: The violent repression of demonstrations against the military regime generates international criticism 1990: National League for Democracy (LND), in opposition to the regime, wins the first multiparty election in 30 years and is prevented from coming to power 1991: Aung San Suu Kyi, of the LND, wins the Nobel Prize in peace 1997: US and EU impose sanctions on Myanmar for human rights violations and disrespect for 2008 election results: Assembly approves new Constitution 2011: Thein Sein, retired general, is elected president and the military regime is dissolved 2015: The LND obtains the majority in both houses of Parliament 2016: Htin Kyaw is elected the first civilian president since 1962 coup and Suu Kyi assumes the post of State Councilor, equivalent to that of Prime Minister 2018: Kyaw resigns and Win Myi nt assumes the 2020 presidency: in the legislative elections, the LND receives 83% of the vote and defeats pro-military party 2021: army alleges election fraud, arrests LND leaders, seizes power with new coup