Tens of thousands of people protested against the military junta on Monday in Myanmar (Burma) despite the threat of violence by the security forces. It is reported to have been the largest rally since the military coup in early February. On photos in social networks, gigantic crowds of people could be seen in the former capital Yangon and the city of Mandalay in the north. The military leadership is now threatened with EU sanctions.
In the capital Naypyidaw, more than a dozen participants were arrested, reported the news portal “Myanmar Now”. The demonstrations took place in all parts of the Southeast Asian country as part of a general strike after police shot two people over the weekend. Overall, the death toll has risen to three. A student who was shot down by the forces on February 9 with a head shot died last week.
The military leadership is now threatened with sanctions from the European Union. All remaining diplomatic channels will be used to work towards de-escalation, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday on the sidelines of consultations with EU colleagues in Brussels. At the same time, however, sanctions against the junta will be prepared in the event that this does not succeed. In particular, dealing with demonstrators is “extremely worrying,” said the SPD politician. They still condemn the coup and are unwilling to continue to watch the developments without doing anything.
The EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said in the evening that the EU sanctions should affect the responsible military and their economic interests. With immediate effect, EU support for government reform programs in Myanmar will also be stopped. At the same time, the European Union promised to continue providing humanitarian aid. The sanctions now being prepared should therefore be designed in such a way that they do not harm the country’s population.
The generals had put their way back to power on the night of February 1 and took the de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and many members of her government into custody. Since then, numerous other politicians, activists and demonstrators have been arrested. The military presence was massively increased after the demonstrations began almost three weeks ago. Rescue workers also shot demonstrators with live ammunition.
Several western countries have condemned the coup and the violence against demonstrators. The military dismissed this as blatant interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs. The authorities are currently exercising “extreme restraint,” said the Foreign Ministry.
After Facebook had already removed an army website from the online network in the course of the military violence at the weekend, the platform is said to have blocked the site of the state television MRTV on Monday. This was reported, among other things, by the so-called movement of civil disobedience in Myanmar and numerous other users.
Officials, factory workers, doctors, teachers, bank employees and many other professions took part in the protests. They stressed that they were not operating under a military dictatorship and called for the restoration of Suu Kyi’s civilian government. The massive general strike took place under the title “22222”, based on the date 02/22/2021. “If we resist the dictatorship, they could shoot us. Everyone knows that. But we have to oppose the dictatorship, it is our duty “, the portal” Frontier Myanmar “quoted an activist.
“Ordinary people in Myanmar are taking part in an extraordinary act to demonstrate their resistance to the brutal military coup, despite murders, violence and intimidation by security forces,” wrote the activist group “Justice for Myanmar” on Twitter.
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