Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured down the streets of Myanmar during one of the biggest strikes against the coup.
Many businesses shut down while employees joined the general strike, despite a military claim that protesters were risking their lives.
This statement raised fears that the protests could turn violent, but protesters maintained a peaceful atmosphere throughout Monday.
Protests have raged in Myanmar for weeks to protest the February 1 coup.
Military leaders overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and put her under house arrest, accusing her of illegally possessing radios and violating Myanmar’s Disaster Law.
The protesters demanded an end to military rule and wanted Ms. San Suu Kyi and her senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party to be released.
One protester, Htet Htet Hlaing, told Reuters news agency in Yangon: “We don’t want the military, we want democracy. We want to create our own future.”
A military statement broadcast on state television MRTV said that the protesters “are now inciting people, especially emotional teenagers and young adults, to lead a path of confrontation. they will suffer loss of life. “
The military warned people not to “riot and anarchy”. The warning caused Facebook to delete the TV station’s pages for violating its “violence and inciting” policy.
This comes after at least two people were killed in protests on Saturday – the worst violence in more than two weeks of protests.
Foreign pressure on military leaders has also increased. In a speech on Monday, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab called for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi.
Demonstrations took place in all major cities of Myanmar. The people waved flags and chanted.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the capital Nay Pyi Taw and more than 100 people were arrested in the city.
But the mass strike also elicited reactions in Myanmar’s smaller towns and more rural areas. There have been major protests in Mandalay, Myitkyina and the coastal town of Dawei.
The day of the national strike was nicknamed “22222 Revolution” because it took place on February 22. It is being compared by protesters to the August 8, 1988 protests – known as the 8888 uprising – when Myanmar saw one of the most violent.
The military then suppressed anti-government protests, killing hundreds of protesters. For many, this day is seen as a turning point in Myanmar.
Demonstrators San San Maw told Reuters in Yangon: “Everyone is joining the protest. We need to do it.”
“We were taking part in the rally today, fighting until we won,” another person told AFP. “We were worried about being suppressed, but still vigorously moving forward. We were very angry.”
Thompson Chau, editor of local media outlet Frontier, told BBC’s World Service that the protests appeared “a lot bigger than before, more roads were blocked, highways blocked and the gates too.” The store is closed everywhere we go. “
“Today was a big strike in the sense that everyone is not working. All the stores are closed.”
Chau added that even those who work for “state companies” as well as “doctors who work for the government. [và] Engineers are also on strike.
Despite the military’s stern warnings in state media, there have been no reports of widespread violence.
Pictures posted on social media showed some protesters lined up in a picture 22222, while others waved banners with numbers printed on them.
What were the reactions?
As the protests grew on Monday, international pressure on Myanmar’s military generals forced them to return power to the ousted government.
“I urge the Myanmar army to stop the persecution immediately,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his annual address to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect for human rights and the will of the people is shown in recent elections,” he said, before insisting that “the coups have no place. in our modern world “.
Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry accused the United Nations and foreign governments of “blatant interference” in the country’s internal affairs.
The US, Canada and Britain have all imposed sanctions on the coup leaders.
And on Monday, the European Union said it was ready to impose its own sanctions on Myanmar’s top generals.
“The EU is ready to apply limited measures aimed at those who are directly responsible for the military coup and their economic interests,” the EU foreign minister said in a joint document.
The EU also called for “de-escalation of the current crisis through … reinstating legitimate civil government and reinstating newly elected parliament”.
- Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Great Britain in 1948. For much of Myanmar’s modern history, the country was under military rule.
- Restrictions began to be relaxed from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the formation of a government initiated by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.
- In 2017, soldiers of the ethnic Rohingya attacked police stations, and Myanmar’s army and local Buddhist groups responded with a deadly crackdown, believed to have killed thousands of Rohingya. . More than half a million Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh, and the United Nations later called it the “classic example of ethnic cleansing”.
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