World Unions set for strikes as Myanmar crackdown intensifies
Myanmar police deploy early to crank up pressure on protests
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Police in Myanmar on Saturday escalated their crackdown on demonstrators against this month’s military takeover, deploying early and in force as protesters sought to assemble in the country's two biggest cities. Myanmar’s crisis took a dramatic turn Friday on the international stage when the country’s ambassador to the United Nations at a special session of the General Assembly declared his loyalty to the ousted civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and called on the world to pressure the military to cede power.
(Reuters) - Major trade unions in Myanmar prepared for strikes on Monday to try to squeeze the country's fragile economy and pile pressure on its new military rulers, as a weekend of violence and nighttime raids renewed calls for sustained nationwide protests.
Witnesses reported the sound of gunfire and stun grenades in different parts of the commercial capital Yangon during the night, while state media on Monday said security forces were keeping a presence at hospitals and universities as part of efforts to enforce the law.
Myanmar's UN ambassador fired after anti-coup speech as military intensifies crackdown on protesters
Myanmar's military junta fired the country's United Nations ambassador Saturday after he made an impassioned plea at the UN General Assembly for international action to help overturn the coup. © UNTV Myanmar's UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun speaks inside the General Assembly on February 26. State television MRTV announced Kyaw Moe Tun's removal on Saturday evening local time, saying he had "abused the power and responsibilities of a permanent ambassador" and that he "betrays the country." Speaking to Reuters following his firing, Kyaw Moe Tun said that he "decided to fight back as long as I can.
At least nine unions covering sectors including construction, agriculture and manufacturing called on "all Myanmar people" to stop work to reverse the Feb. 1 coup and restore Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.
Allowing business and economic activity to continue would help the military "as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people", it said in a statement.
"The time to take action in defence of our democracy is now," it said.
Women's groups called for a Htamain (Sarong) movement to mobilise in force and mark International Women's Day while denouncing the junta.
Some of the biggest protests in recent weeks took place on Sunday, with police firing stun grenades and tear gas to break up demonstrations in Yangon, the northern town of Lashio and a sit-in by tens of thousands of people the second-biggest city Mandalay.
Myanmar protesters undeterred after deadliest day since coup
Killing of 18 pro-democracy protesters by security forces and new charges against Aung San Suu Kyi have done nothing to quell anger at military rulers in the streets.In Yangon, the country's most populous city and former capital, some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police. Others snuffed out smoking tear gas canisters fired by security forces. Videos posted to social media showed several people with bullet wounds being rushed away from protest sites to waiting ambulances in the southeastern town of Dawei.
Police and military have killed more than 50 people to quell daily demonstrations and strikes since the coup, according to the United Nations.
Protest leader Maung Saungkha on Facebook urged women to come out strongly against the coup on Monday, while Nay Chi, one of the organisers of the Sarong movement, described the women as "revolutionaries".
"Our people are unarmed but wise. They try to rule with fear, but we will fight that fear," she told Reuters.
At least three protests were held in Yangon on Sunday, despite raids on campaign leaders and opposition activists by security forces late Saturday.
An official and local campaign manager from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) Khin Maung Latt died in police custody.
Ba Myo Thein, a deposed lawmaker, said reports of bruising to Khin Maung Latt's head and body raised suspicions that he had been "tortured severely".
Myanmar authorities kill at least 38 protesters in bloodiest day since coup
At least 38 protesters were killed by authorities in Myanmar on Wednesday, marking the bloodiest day since the military seized power in an apparent coup last month. Demonstrations have been taking place in cities across the Southeast Asian country since its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party were detained by the military on Feb. 1. The protest movement has been growing and the military junta, which calls itself the State Administration Council, has become increasingly violent in its response as weeks of internet shutdowns, threats and mass arrests have not stopped thousands of people from voicing their opposition.
Police in Pabedan, where Khin Maung Latt was arrested, declined to comment. A spokesman for the military did not answer calls seeking comment.
The army has said it is dealing with protests lawfully.
In a statement on Monday, the military said it had arrested 41 people the previous day.
An announcement by the military carried on the front page of the State-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Monday threatened unspecified "action" against anyone who directly or indirectly works for a committee of ousted lawmakers that has declared itself the country's legitimate authority.
The announcement said the committee was illegal and had committed "high treason". A separate report said the military and police were "maintaining" hospitals and universities.
The killings have drawn anger in the West and been condemned by most democracies in Asia.
The United States and some other Western countries have imposed limited sanctions on the junta and Australia on Sunday cut defence ties, saying it would only deal with non-government groups in Myanmar.
Myanmar's giant neighbour China on Sunday said it was prepared to engage with "all parties" to ease the crisis and was not taking sides.
Figures by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group showed nearly 1,800 people have been detained under the junta as of Sunday.
(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty and Poppy McPherson; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
Streets of blood in Myanmar town as UN fears 'crimes against humanity' .
Bloodshed continues in Myanmar after another violent day Thursday saw at least 12 people killed by the ruling junta, according to a watchdog group, prompting a top UN official to say the crackdown on peaceful protests is "likely meeting the legal threshold for crimes against humanity."In the small, central town of Myaing, police shot into a crowd of unarmed people, killing at least eight, according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Images posted on social media showed the town's roads streaked with blood and bodies laying crumpled and lifeless in the street.