Myanmar Regime Steps Up Crackdown Ahead of Monday’s General Strike
By The Irrawaddy 7 March 2021
YANGON — Ahead of Monday’s planned general strike, Myanmar’s military regime has intensified its crackdown, detaining political activists during nighttime raids and quelling rallies across the country.
Police and soldiers in large numbers appeared in central Yangon late on Saturday night, forced entry into homes and sometimes firing warning shots.
At least 10 people were detained, including National League for Democracy (NLD) members.
On Sunday in Yangon, the security forces tried to block protesters’ access to rally venues on the main roads after dispersing them with teargas and stun grenades.
Until Saturday, protesters have been retreating into side roads to avoid the security forces, only to return to the major roads when soldiers and police move on.
The security forces tried to clear some protest roadblocks and set fire to debris. Residents’ videos show brutal beatings during the detentions.
Video from Bagan residents in Mandalay Region shows soldiers and police using live rounds against protesters on Sunday morning. The city was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2019.
Tens of thousands of Mandalay residents gathered to oppose the regime on Sunday, despite a series of crackdowns. More than 90 people were detained and several were wounded, according to witnesses.
Sources said the soldiers were deployed at two government hospitals and five universities on Sunday morning.
The junta is facing resistance on several fronts. Civil servants are refusing to work for the regime, meaning some functions of government have ground to a halt.
Politically, the regime has struggled to establish legitimacy internationally as the committee representing elected NLD lawmakers — the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (National Parliament) — gains popular support at home.
Since mass protests started in early February, more than 50 people have been killed and around 1,757 have been detained.
Since mass protests started in early February, more than
50 people have been killed and more than 1,400 are still being detained.
Despite the crackdowns prompting a wide range of international condemnation, a closed meeting on Myanmar at the United Nations Security Council on Friday failed to agree a response to the violence.
China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, said the international community should act “on the premise of respecting Myanmar’s sovereignty”.
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