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Strike shuts Myanmar, anti-coup protesters defy junta warning


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Strike shuts Myanmar, anti-coup protesters defy junta warning

 

2021-02-22T105528Z_1_LYNXMPEH1L0K8_RTROPTP_4_MYANMAR-POLITICS.JPG

Demonstrators hold placards with pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 22, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

 

(Reuters) - A general strike against military rule shut businesses in Myanmar on Monday and huge crowds gathered peacefully despite fears of violence after authorities warned that confrontation could be deadly.

 

Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop the daily protests and a civil disobedience movement calling for the reversal of the Feb. 1 coup and release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

Hundreds of thousands gathered in cities and towns across the country, from the northern hills on the border with China to the central plains, the Irrawaddy river delta and the southern tip of the panhandle, social media images showed.

 

For protester Kyaw Kyaw in the main city of Yangon, losing pay to join the strike was a small price to pay.

 

"Nothing's going to happen if my salary is cut but if we stay under a military dictatorship we'll be slaves," he said.

 

In the capital, Naypyitaw, where the military is headquartered, a police water cannon truck and a fleet of other vehicles closed in to break up a procession of chanting protesters who scattered when police on foot rushed in, wrestling several to the ground.

 

The response of security forces this month has been less deadly than in earlier bouts of turmoil in almost half a century of direct military rule but three protesters have been killed - two shot dead in Mandalay on Saturday, and a woman who died on Friday after being shot more than a week earlier in Naypyitaw.

 

The army has said one policeman died of injuries sustained during the protests.

 

Many civil servants have been staying away from work as part of the civil disobedience campaign and government services have been crippled. The military has accused protesters of intimidation and provoking violence.

 

Late on Sunday, state-owned media MRTV warned that confrontation could cost lives.

 

"Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer loss of life," the broadcaster said.

 

Facebook said on Monday it had removed MRTV's pages for violations of its standards, including its violence and incitement policy. On Sunday, it deleted the military's main page for the same reason.

 

'WE'RE GOING'

 

In a country where dates are seen as auspicious, protesters noted the significance of the date 22.2.2021, comparing it with demonstrations on Aug. 8, 1988, when a previous generation staged anti-military protests that were bloodily suppressed.

 

But that and the government warning did not put people off.

 

"We need to come out," said San San Maw, 46, at a main rallying point in Yangon.

 

Later, riot police lined up, apparently preparing to disperse protesters from outside a U.N. office, but the crowd broke up after singing a festive song that features the line: "Goodbye, we're going".

 

Crowds elsewhere in Yangon melted away by late afternoon.

 

As well as local stores, international chains announced closures on Monday, including Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and delivery service Food Panda, owned by Delivery Hero. Southeast Asian company Grab stopped delivery services too, but left its taxis running.

 

Authorities were "exercising utmost restraint", the foreign ministry said. It rebuked some countries for remarks it described as interference in Myanmar's internal affairs.

 

Several Western countries have condemned the coup and decried violence against protesters.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter the United States would continue to "take firm action" against authorities violently cracking down on opponents of the coup.

 

Britain, Germany and Japan have condemned the violence and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the military to stop repression.

 

The generals put up with years of sanctions after crushing the 1988 protests and are likely to shrug off pressure again.

 

The army seized power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections in which Suu Kyi's party trounced a pro-military party, detaining her and much of the party leadership. The electoral commission dismissed the fraud complaints.

 

Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 640 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup - including former members of government and opponents of the coup.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-22
 
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" Myanmar's foreign ministry on Sunday justified its use of force against protesters, and accused the United Nations and other governments of "flagrant interference" in the country's internal affairs."

 

Pure arrogance .

Some ' wanna be king ' generals treat their own countries people like s-hit , and want to continue doing so without foreign interference ...

Shame on them .

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42 minutes ago, nobodysfriend said:

Some ' wanna be king ' generals treat their own countries people like s-hit , and want to continue doing so without foreign interference ...

Shame on them .

 

Well, well... there is another country doing so, too.

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3 hours ago, nobodysfriend said:

Unlucky if born in Myanmar ... nice people but very poor due to failed policies of the government . Forced to work in Thailand , many now simply will not want to go back to Myanmar anymore . A life as a ' slave ' worker in Thailand is still better than  being violently oppressed by their own military government . What a choice !

I hope that they manage to forever get rid of that exploiting government and , finally , become a free country .

Burma has a lot of beautiful islands and beaches , but tourism is non existant or underdeveloped .

In a post Covid world , with an elected and good government in place there might be no need anymore for them to find a low paid job in Thailand ...

But wait ... who will do the dirty work in Thailand then ?

So , probably not in Thailand's interest ...?

 

 

 

Guess you have not been in the past 5 years,  Plenty of tourist areas to  visit with all the facilitates,  (Mandalay, Bagan, Inle lake) where there are truly 5 star resorts

Ngwe Saung Beach is a very nice beach tourist area and the beaches down south and the islands i will agree with you are underdeveloped but thats what makes them so attractive.

and than you have many many other places.

 

Traveling extensively thru Burma in the past 6 years reminds me of travelling thru Thailand in the 70's, 80's

as to poverty, i find, Laos and Cambodia  have more visible poverty

 

Many of the Burmese living and working in thailand in 2018,2019 were hopeful of leaving thailand and heading back home as business was booming and they could almost get a living wage..

This coup has put an end to that..

 

 

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The Tatmadaw could be up against it here. Not everyone joins the military out of patriotism. For many, it's a job and guaranteed meals. The troops drawn from major cities may not be willing to crack down on their neighbors, and they could switch sides.

 

I was there in 2007 (been visiting Myanmar regularly since 1995) when the Saffron Revolution occurred. The govt, fearing loyalty of Yangon-based troops, brought in many rural troops...people who were bowled over by a city like Yangon, even thought it was hardly well developed at that time. Those rural troops---many of whom were so poorly kitted they wore sandals---were scared of the size of crowds standing off against them, especially since the protesters were led by monks. When it go hairy, they just fired.

 

The Tatmadaw also pulled another trick: they released violent prisoners (murderers, rapists) and told them their sentence would be commuted if they did the Tatmadaw's bidding. These guys, called Swan Ah Shin (which roughly translated means 'capable ones') road with the military, all carrying clubs and metal pipes, and when told to do so womped on the protesters. The govt could then say, 'this was just patriotic private citizens outraged by the illegal protests'. Apparently the Tatmadaw is doing this again.

 

The previous regime gave way when they realized ASSK wasn't going to prosecute, and the old guys were already rich and aged. It was only a matter of time before some officers, who were mid-grade during the SPDC years and unable to drink from the corruption trough, would rise up to try to 'get theirs'. The Constitution conveniently had a clause that allowed the Tatmadaw to retake power at any time for any reason, so that is what they are doing.

 

The Myanmar people tasted a sort of freedom, though most still don't understand democracy. They are unlikely to back down absent violent repression, and even then many will decide they have nothing to lose. China will back the Tatmadaw, because China can buy off leadership and go back to raping and pillaging Myanmar of its natural resources.

 

Two things are becoming increasingly likely: one is that repression will turn quite violent. The second is that some largely ethnic areas, who never liked ASSK any more than SPDC, will move toward autonomy. Kachin State is most likely to try to do that.

 

It is a sad situation and isn't likely to end anytime soon.

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was there in 88 and saw how the military reacts 

I really fear it wont be long till their true colors show thru>>

 

Many fear the recent prison release was to stir things up and also make room for the future detainees

its a no win for those demonstrating and sanctions dont mean squat to the junta.  

 

Sadly Burma is just not yet ready for democracy

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3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

was there in 88

Time , and internet , has changed a lot , since .

 

3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

Many fear the recent prison release was to stir things up and also make room for the future detainees

That is right . They have ' experience '  on how to keep the population in fear and obedient .

But in today's world everybody knows  ... may be that weakens their position ...?

 

3 hours ago, zzzzz said:

Burma is just not yet ready for democracy

That's wrong .

The people are ready for it , but some mighty general wants to be the ruler of the country together with ' big brother , and small brother , exactly the 2 countries who vetoed the UN resolution against the coup ...

The will of the ordinary people is ignored , just as how it happened before already ... I hope that the burmese army allows new elections very fast . If not there is a potential civil war in preparation ... or another massacre ...

Being Asian these burmese generals seem to not care about ' face ' or the loss of it ...

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