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Anti-coup protest grows in Myanmar


Anti-coup protest grows in Myanmar
People gather during a candlelight vigil to protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 21, 2021. (Reuters)

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Nay Pyi Taw – 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.

Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop daily protests and a civil disobedience movement calling for the reversal of the February 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.”

In a country where dates are seen as auspicious, protesters noted the significance of the date 22.2.2021, comparing it to demonstrations on August 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.

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’.” (Reuters)