Myanmar Regime Steps Up Violence to Tackle General Strike
By The Irrawaddy 8 March 2021
YANGON — Another general strike planned by anti-regime protesters on Monday faced heavy crackdowns by the security forces in many cities, leaving at least three protesters dead, many injured and several hundred detained.
The military regime has dealt with two previous general strikes on Feb. 22 and Feb. 28 since it seized power on Feb. 1. Millions of protesters took to the streets across the country and the security forces struggled to cope with the numbers of protesters.
For the general strike on Monday, the security forces took preemptive action with deployments and gunshots fired throughout Yangon through the night. Many residents believed the security forces intended to scare people away from protesting.
But thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country on Monday and faced heavier crackdowns than in previous days.
In Myitkyina, Kachin State, protesters faced shooting soon after arriving in the streets in the morning. Two men, 22 and 62, died on the spot in the shooting. Witnesses said at least seven protesters were injured by gunshots and about 50 protesters were detained.
In Shwegu Township, Kachin State, the security forces arrested more than 80 protesters, plus one journalist, according to Myitkyina News Journal based in the state. It reported that four detainees remained in custody and had been charged.
The security forces, including soldiers, had been stopping vehicles and pedestrians in Yangon to search for anti-regime posters and placards to prevent protesters from gathering.
Despite early crackdowns, thousands of protesters managed to demonstrate peacefully against the regime before facing heavy crackdowns.
Many towns in Shan State and Yangon, Mandalay, Ayeyarwady and Bago regions have seen numerous arrests and causalities during the protests.
At noon in Mandalay, military vehicles chased down motorcycles being ridden by six protesters and deliberately hit them. Two of the activists, include a teenager, were severely injured.
In Pyapon Township, Ayeyarwady Region, a protester was shot dead and four others injured as soldiers and police cracked down on a sit-in protest. One of those injured is in a critical condition, a resident told The Irrawaddy.
In Pyapon, at least 50 protesters were detained on Monday morning, of which 14 were later released.
The security forces also raided the offices of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society led by prominent activist Ko Min Ko Naing in Thingangyun Township, Yangon, and the Myanmar Now news publication. Computers and other materials were seized, according to witnesses.
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