MYANMAR PROTESTERS SHUN JUNTA THREAT OF SUPPRESSION
Protesters gathered in Myanmar’s biggest city on Monday despite the ruling junta’s threat to use lethal force against people who join a general strike against the military’s takeover three weeks ago, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
More than 1,000 protesters gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Yangon despite barriers blocking the way, but left to avoid a confrontation after 20 military trucks with riot police arrived nearby.
Protests continued in other parts of the city, including next to Sule Pagoda, a traditional gathering point. Factories, workplaces and shops were shuttered across the country Monday in response to the call for a nationwide strike.
The closings extended to the capital, Naypyitaw. The junta had warned against a general strike in a public announcement Sunday night on state television broadcaster MRTV.
“It is found that the protesters have raised their incitement towards riot and anarchy mob on the day of 22 February.
Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life,” the onscreen text said in English, replicating the spoken announcement in Burmese.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter the US would take firm action “against those who perpetrate violence against the people of Burma as they demand the restoration of their democratically elected government.”
He added: “We call on the military to stop violence, release all those unjustly detained, cease attacks on journalists and activists, and respect the will of the people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter.
On Sunday, crowds in Naypyitaw attended a funeral for the young woman who was the first person confirmed to have been killed in the protests, while demonstrators also mourned two other protesters who were shot dead on Saturday in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city.