Opponents of the military coup in Myanmar called for a general strike and more street protests Monday, as authorities threatened that the confrontation could claim the lives of others after two protesters were killed over the weekend. Despite the deployment of more forces and pledges to hold new elections, the military leaders have failed to stop the daily protests and civil disobedience movement that has been going on for more than two weeks, calling for a reversal of the February 1 coup and the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The shooting of two protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, did not frustrate protesters on Sunday when they took off again by tens of thousands there, and in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. The state-owned MRTV television station warned protesters against holding protests on Monday. “The protesters are now inciting people, especially the enthusiastic teenagers and young men, on the road to a confrontation in which they will suffer loss of life,” she said. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the authorities “exercise the utmost restraint.” The ministry criticized some foreign countries for statements, which it described as a blatant interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs. Several Western countries condemned the coup and denounced the violence against the protesters. The United States, Japan, Singapore, Britain and Germany condemned the violence, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the use of lethal force was unacceptable. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Twitter on Sunday that the United States would continue to take “firm measures” against the authorities violently suppressing opponents of the military coup in Myanmar, after two protesters were shot dead over the weekend. Blinken wrote in the post, which came ten days after the United States imposed sanctions on the acting president of Myanmar and several other army officers, that the United States stands by “the people of Burma with their demand for the restoration of their democratically elected government.”
Residents in Yangon said roads leading to some embassies, including the US embassy, were closed Monday. Diplomatic missions became gathering points for protesters calling for foreign intervention. The army seized power after alleging fraud in the elections that took place on November 8, which was swept by the National League for Democracy party led by Suu Kyi and arrested her and others. The Election Commission rejected complaints about electoral fraud. The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners in Myanmar said that 640 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup, including former members of the government and opponents of the military takeover.
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