Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mass protests in Myanmar: ‘We don’t want a junta, we want democracy’


Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered again in Yangon, Naypyidaw, Mandalay and elsewhere, despite the apparent threat of the junta to use deadly force against them again. For this time, the demonstrations are predicted to be the most massive. Doctors, teachers, bank employees, traders and factory workers also joined the nationwide general strike.

The movement was also joined by workers and civil servants who joined the protest with a strike. Doors of their shops, bars, productions, etc. they were imprisoned and told that they would remain imprisoned until the military junta returned power to the democratically elected government. Hundreds of thousands of protesters will gather across the country, despite warnings from the military junta that there could be casualties in a possible clash.

Three weeks after the coup, the junta failed to stop daily protests and “civil disobedience”, caused by the arrest of the elected Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and citizens ’demands that the situation in the country return to what it was before 1 February. At least 640 people have been arrested, charged or convicted, according to an independent association to help political prisoners. 593 were detained.

The military on Sunday issued the most threatening warning to date that its patience was running out. “Protesters are now encouraging people, especially emotional teenagers and young people, to confront themselves in which they risk losing their lives,” she said in a statement on state television MRTV. She warned protesters against inciting “riots and anarchy”.

As a result of this announcement, the social network Facebook closed the television page today, and before that, due to the violence, also the army page last weekend. In the morning, despite the threats, crowds of protesters marched through all the major cities.

Thousands, many on motorcycles, also gathered in the capital, Naypyitaw. Protesters, however, gathered in the streets of Yangon today, despite threats by the junta to use force if people responded to the call for a general strike. More than 1,000 protesters gathered around the U.S. embassy in Yangon, and 20 military trucks and barricades had already been set up not far from there.

In addition, many companies in Yangon and several other major cities are closed today in response to calls for a general strike to give a new impetus to the civil disobedience movement.

The protesters were shot with real bullets, pardoning over 23,000 prisoners

“We don’t want a junta, we want democracy. We want to create our own future. My mother didn’t stop me from protesting, she just told me to be careful,” said the 22-year-old Htet Hlaing.“We came here to join the protests, to fight until we win. We are worried about repression, but we will continue. We are so angry,” however, said another, a 23-year-old student.

‘Revolution 22222’

In Myanmar, lucky dates are those days that contain the same numbers. Thus, it is no coincidence that the general strike and mass protests were chosen on the 22nd day of the second month of 2021. Today’s protest was reportedlyBBCtherefore he also took the nickname “Revolution 22222”. Similar to August 8, 1988, when the people also rebelled against the military junta, but were subjected to bloody repression at the time.

Although the army had not yet used so much force at the protests this time, three people had already lost their lives. Two of them were shot dead in Mandalay on Saturday. Police officers also died in one of the protests, the military said. The young woman, who became the first confirmed death victim of the protests, died on Friday after her life hung in the balance for fourteen days.

The first victim of the protests in Myanmar shot 20-year-old

Protests have been taking place almost every day since the army took power on February 1st. Author and historian Thant Myint-U he said the window for a peaceful solution is closing. “In the coming weeks, only two things will be crucial: the will of the military, which has previously suppressed many protests, and the courage, skill and determination of the protesters, who make up the bulk of society.”

Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, said he was appalled by the attacks on civilians: “From water cannons to rubber bullets, tear gas and fortified soldiers firing at peaceful protesters.”

The coup and the recent use of deadly violence against protesters have been condemned by the United Nations, as well as France, Japan, Germany, Singapore and the United Kingdom. EU foreign ministers will meet today to discuss the response and action.



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