Feb. 22 — On Monday, demonstrators took to the streets across Myanmar despite the country’s military junta warning that if protests turned into a general strike as expected, violence would escalate.In continued opposition to the military coup that usurped government power and imprisoned activists and civilian leaders, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, on Feb. 1, The Guardian announced, large crowds gathered in Yangon, Naypyidaw, Mandalay and other cities.The military cited the November election irregularities during which Suu Kyi’s party prevailed in a landslide.
Demonstrations have continued on a regular basis throughout the three weeks that have passed and at least three demonstrators have died, including two on Saturday when police used live fire and rubber bullets against demonstrations in Yangon, the second largest city in Myanmar.In response to the government takeover, demonstrators called for a general strike, dubbed “22222” in reference to the date, to begin on Monday with the Civil Disobedience Movement protest group announcing that it will be “a big historic day.”
“Keep watching us and pray for us, friends,” it said on Twitter on Sunday.That night, however, the State Administrative Council, which now runs the nation, cautioned that protesters might use deadly force.”It is found that protesters have raised their incitement toward 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 council said on state broadcaster MRTV Sunday night.
The U.N., Tom Andrews. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar reported that he was “deeply concerned” by the public warning, which he described as “ominous.” “Warning to the junta: Unlike 1988, actions by security forces are being recorded & you will be held accountable,” he tweeted.Oh! U.N. On Sunday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the use of lethal force while reiterating the call of the United Nation to honor the outcome of the election and return the country to civilian rule.
“The use of lethal force, intimidation & harassment against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable,” Guterres said in a statement. “Everyone has a right to peaceful assembly.”Andrews said he was ‘horrified’ by the loss of life and the increase of force used by the security forces following the two deaths over the weekend. “From water cannons to firing point blank at peaceful protesters,” he tweeted. “This madness must end, now!”Historian and writer Thant Myint-u tweeted Monday that in the midst of expanding arrests and growing use of lethal force,
the window for a peaceful solution was closing rapidly.”The outcome of the coming weeks will be determined by just two things: The will of an army that’s crushed many protesters before and the courage, skill and determination of the protesters (much of society) themselves,” he said. “Two pivotal forces in the raw. Nothing is preordained.”According to data from the Myanmar Non-Profit Human Rights Group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 640 people have been arrested, convicted or sentenced since Feb 1.