Tuesday, February 23, 2021

National strike takes over Myanmar


A major general strike against the military coup at the beginning of this month will take place in Myanmar on Monday. Thousands of protesters took to the streets despite the junta’s warning that violence will not be shunned. At least two people were killed last weekend.

Three weeks after the seizure of power, the new military government fails to stop the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). He demands the release of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a return to democracy. On Monday, tens of thousands of people took part in a national strike action and people again took to the streets in large numbers. A previous warning from state media MRTV not to participate in the action has not worked.

In addition to local stores, international chains also announced closures on Monday. Fast food chain KFC and delivery service Food Panda, among others, took part in the protest. The fact that companies are participating in the action is striking since the junta marketed itself as a business-friendly regime in the coup d’état on February 1.

Photo: REUTERS

Symbolic date

That the protest takes place today, on 22.02.2021 (five twos), has a symbolic meaning. Protesters refer to the anti-military protests of 08.08.1988 (four eights). They were then bloody suppressed.

This time, however, it is possible to communicate with the outside world thanks to the internet. This may explain why the response of the security forces is less violent today than it was in the 1980s. “ Unlike 1988, actions by security forces will be recorded and you will be held accountable, ” tweeted UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Myanmar Tom Andrews

The coup already claimed the lives of at least three civilians and 1 police officer. The first civilian victim, 20-year-old Mya Thwe Thwe Kaing, was buried on Sunday. Hundreds of people attended the ceremony. The young woman was shot in the head on February 9 during a protest in the capital Naypyitaw. Doctors deemed her chances of survival minimal and she was declared brain dead. She eventually passed away last Friday. The student has become a symbol of the resistance against the military junta.

‘Window closes’

The fatalities do not stop protesters from taking to the streets. The population feels that time is running out. For example, author and historian Thant Myint-U tweeted that the window for a peaceful solution was slowly but surely closing. “The outcome of the coming weeks will be determined by only two things: the will of an army that has already crushed many protests and the courage, skill and determination of the protesters (much of society).”

Today the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council meets to discuss the situation in Myanmar. Some activists expect sanctions against the military regime. The United Kingdom has already done so.

National strike takes over Myanmar
Photo: AP





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