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World Myanmar gripped by strike as anti-coup protests build

05:41  22 february  2021
05:41  22 february  2021 Source:   reuters.com

At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar

  At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar The protesters were shot and killed by the military government, according to the UN.For nearly a month, a growing coalition of protesters has demanded the end of military rule in Myanmar, following a coup that led to the arrest of the nation’s civilian leaders on February 1. Demonstrations have taken place continuously across the country, taking the form of student protests, the halting of public transportation, and work stoppages that threaten to derail Myanmar’s economy.

(Reuters) - Businesses shut in Myanmar on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military coup and thousands of protesters gathered despite a threat from authorities that confrontation could cost lives.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Protest against military coup in Yangon © Reuters/STRINGER Protest against military coup in Yangon

Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop 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.

"Everyone is joining this," said San San Maw, 46, at the Hledan junction in the main city of Yangon, which has become a rallying point for the protests. "We need to come out."

ASEAN set for talks with Myanmar military as crisis escalates

  ASEAN set for talks with Myanmar military as crisis escalates Foreign ministers will call for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release encourage talks between the civilian leader and the army.Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, in a televised interview late on Monday, said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will tell the military it is appalled by the violence in Myanmar and call for the release of the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and for the two sides to talk.

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

The response of security forces this time has been less deadly, but at least three protesters have now been killed after two were shot dead in the second city of Mandalay on Saturday. One policeman died of injuries in protests, the army has said.

The deaths in Mandalay did not discourage protesters on Sunday, when they turned out again in tens of thousands there and in Yangon.

State-owned media MRTV warned protesters against action on Monday.

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

Scuffles in Yangon as Facebook bans all Myanmar military accounts

  Scuffles in Yangon as Facebook bans all Myanmar military accounts Pro-military demonstrators punch bystanders after people in the area bang pots and pans to show their disapproval.Pro-military demonstrators rallying in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, punched several bystanders, according to local media, after anti-coup demonstrators and residents banged pots and pans and crossed their wrists to express their disapproval of the rally.

Htet Htet Hlaing, 22, said she was scared and had prayed before joining Monday's demonstration, but would not be discouraged.

"We don’t want the junta, we want democracy. We want to create our own future," she said. "My mother didn't stop me from coming out, she only said 'take care'."


Video: Diverse Myanmar protesters united in opposition to coup (Reuters)

RESTAURANTS SHUT

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 in a statement. It rebuked some foreign countries for remarks it described as flagrant interference in Myanmar's internal affairs.

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

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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 in the Southeast Asian country that is also known as Burma.

"We stand with the people of Burma," he said.

Britain, Germany, Japan and Singapore have also condemned the violence and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said lethal force was unacceptable.

Residents in Yangon said roads to some embassies, including the U.S. embassy, were blocked on Monday. The diplomatic missions have become gathering points for protesters calling for foreign intervention.

U.N special rapporteur on human rights to Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said he was deeply concerned by the junta's warning to protesters.

"Unlike 1988, actions by security forces are being recorded and you will be held accountable," he said on Twitter.

The army seized power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections that were swept by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), 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 army takeover.

(Reporting by Reuters staff; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Myanmar junta hunts down leading dissidents as some police break ranks to join protests against coup .
Shots have been fired to disperse protesters, police have broke ranks to join demonstrations and the junta is searching for seven leading political activists as mass protests continued for a ninth day.Much of the country has been in uproar since soldiers detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted her government last week, ending a decade-old fledgling democracy after generations of junta rule.

usr: 1
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