Protesters joining nationwide strike in Myanmar

Joanna Estrada
February 22, 2021

Protesters shout slogans and display images of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi during an anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.

Residents in Yangon said roads to some embassies, including the US embassy, were blocked on Monday.

The junta warned against the general strike in a public announcement carried last Sunday on state television broadcaster MRTV.

"It is found that protesters have raised their incitement towards riot and anarchy mob on the day of 22 February".

The US Embassy in Yangon said it was "deeply troubled by the fatal shooting of protesters in Mandalay" and "no one should be harmed for exercising the right to dissent".

Another part of the statement blamed protesters whose numbers allegedly included criminal gangs for violence at demonstrations, with the result that "the security force members had to fire back".

"One person died before my eyes, he was shot in the head".

The protest movement has embraced nonviolence and only occasionally gotten into shoving matches with police and thrown bottles at them when provoked.

In the city of Mandalay, security forces opened fire, killing two protesters and injuring at least 20 more. A wreath of bright yellow flowers was hung beneath a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, who was shot in the capital, Naypyitaw, on February 9, two days before her 20th birthday.

They, woman whose funeral was held on Sunday, was the first confirmed fatality of the protests, and she has emerged as a potent symbol of the anti-junta movement.

Protesters gathered again Sunday all over Myanmar, a day after security forces shot dead two people at a demonstration in the country's second biggest city.

Condemnation of the military also increases with United Nations special rapporteur Tom Andrews saying the new junta "can't steal the hope and resolve of a determined people".

Witness accounts and photos of bullet casings indicated security forces used live ammunition, in addition to conventional riot control equipment and slingshots, a traditional hunting weapon in Myanmar. "We need to come out".

In the Bahan township area, demonstrators sat on a stretch of road and created a sea of yellow and red banners in support of Suu Kyi. The nation's biggest local retailer, City Mart Holdings, will close supermarkets for business Monday in what appears to be preparation for unrest.

There were also demonstrations in the cities of Myitkyina and Dawei.

Protesters also took to streets of Naypidaw, the capital, on motorbikes.

Some 500 police and soldiers descended on the area near Yadanabon dock after dock workers joined the national civil disobedience movement, refusing to work until the military junta that seized power in a February 1 coup reinstates the democratically elected government.

Asset freezes, which the United Kingdom has used against Myanmar military leaders, may the on the agenda for discussion, as could proposals for sanctions on companies linked to the Southeast Asian nation's armed forces.

Several other injured protesters were carried away on stretchers by volunteer medics, their clothes soaked in blood.

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.

Less than an hour after the 8 p.m. curfew started on Wednesday, gunshots were heard as more than two dozen police officers with shields and helmets marched past railway workers' housing.

The junta has also severely curbed internet access overnight for eight straight days, according to the monitoring group NetBlocks.

The ministry lashed out at some embassies and foreign governments, calling their statements "tantamount to flagrant interference in internal affairs of Myanmar".

The Foreign Ministry claimed that, despite "unlawful demonstrations, incitements of unrest and violence, the authorities concerned are exercising utmost restraint through minimum use of force to address the disturbances", adding that officers were maintaining public safety in line with domestic laws and global practices.

The UK said on Thursday said it had imposed asset freezes and travel bans on three generals in Myanmar's military regime in response to human rights violations.

However, a state-run newspaper reported on Sunday that "Rioters Assail Security Forces with Projectiles in Mandalay", claiming that security forces cleared people blocking the streets and tried to disperse the crowd "according to the law". "We, the people, won't accept their unfair oppression and we will continue to fight".

European Union foreign ministers are expected to meet Monday to approve their own sanctions against Myanmar's generals.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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