Myanmar military warns protesters could ‘suffer loss of life’ ahead of planned mass strike

Myanmar’s military junta on Sunday warned anti-coup protesters they’ll “endure loss of life” if demonstrations confront safety forces, ahead of planned mass protests and a nationwide strike.

The ominous warning follows the most violent weekend since protests in opposition to the February 1 coup started, with police opening hearth on demonstrators within the second largest metropolis, Mandalay, on Saturday, leaving at least two dead.

“It is discovered that protesters have raised their incitement in direction of riot and anarchy mob on the day of 22 February. Protesters at the moment are inciting the folks, particularly emotional youngsters and youths, to a confrontation path the place they’ll endure the loss of life,” the State Administration Council — the title for the military junta now controlling the nation — declared Sunday night on state broadcaster MRTV.

Video from social media Sunday evening and Monday morning confirmed barbed wire blocking roads to some overseas embassies within the largest metropolis, Yangon, the main focus level for a lot of latest protests. Footage additionally confirmed what gave the impression to be police and military autos rolling by the streets.

Protesters have referred to as for a basic strike, with all workplaces and retailers to be closed on Monday. Activists urged all residents to affix the protest, often known as the “Five Twos” in reference to Monday’s date.

“Tomorrow 22.2.2021 can be an enormous historic day. Keep watching us and pray for us, buddies,” main protest activist group, the Civil Disobedience Movement stated in a tweet Sunday.

Weekend protests

For greater than two weeks, 1000’s of folks in villages, cities and cities throughout Myanmar have come out to peacefully protest or participate in a non-violent civil disobedience motion in opposition to the military takeover, calling for the generals handy again energy and launch of civilian chief Aung San Suu Kyi and different democratically-elected officers.

The junta has tried to cease protests by imposing bans on gatherings of greater than 5 folks and curfews in sure areas and reducing the web at evening. They have additionally deployed troops to main cities, together with members of elite counter-insurgency divisions documented to be engaged in human rights abuses and violent campaigns in opposition to ethnic minorities.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma (AAPPB) stated at the very least 640 folks have been detained in relation to the coup.

But that has not stopped the protesters, who gathered in giant numbers on Sunday following the deadly shootings in Mandalay.

In Yangon, demonstrators marched outdoors the US Embassy waving banners that learn “Help Myanmar.” In Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar, protesters could be seen chanting slogans and waving flags whereas driving on motorbikes.

And within the capital, Naypyidaw, giant crowds gathered to attend the funeral of a younger lady, who died on Friday after being shot within the head throughout an anti-coup protest. Mya Thweh Thweh Khine, who was shot simply earlier than her twentieth birthday, was the primary identified casualty of pro-democracy protests.

Video of her funeral procession confirmed a hearse together with her image in entrance and a convoy of autos driving out of a hospital. As the procession drove by the streets, folks on motorbikes and bystanders have been seen elevating the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games motion pictures, which has been adopted by protesters.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry stated in an announcement Sunday that authorities have been “exercising utmost restraint by minimal use of power” when coping with the protests. It additionally stated that statements and remarks made by some overseas nations are “tantamount to flagrant interference in inside affairs of Myanmar.”

In a Facebook submit, the ministry referred to as on diplomats to “respect the legal guidelines and rules of the receiving state” and reiterated {that a} “free and truthful basic election” will happen. A state of emergency is in impact in Myanmar for one yr however the junta haven’t given a timeframe by which it should maintain elections.

International condemnation of military motion

Several nations have condemned the coup and violence in opposition to protesters.

Singapore warned Saturday that there can be “severe opposed penalties” for Myanmar if the scenario there continues to escalate. Singapore, which was the largest overseas investor in Myanmar within the fiscal yr 2019-2020, stated it was “inexcusable” for Myanmar police to make use of deadly weapons in opposition to unarmed civilians.

The European Union’s overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell on Saturday urged the military and “all safety forces in Myanmar to instantly cease violence in opposition to civilians.”

In Mandalay on Sunday, stringers for CNN confirmed that stay rounds and tear fuel have been used to disperse folks at an anti-coup protest within the metropolis. Volunteer emergency employees cited by Reuters and AFP information businesses stated that at the very least two folks died when police opened hearth on protesters. The information businesses reported that between 20 and 30 folks have been injured within the crackdown.

In video seen by CNN, a big crowd of folks could be seen operating from police and taking cowl behind no matter shelter they could discover. In one other video, an individual could be seen being stretchered away by medics. The situation of the affected person was not instantly clear.

The military defended their actions within the state broadcast Sunday, saying they used “prescribed crowd dispersal strategies” and blamed “some infamous ex-criminals and their gangs” who “used sticks, knives, stones, catapults, and different weapon-like supplies to assault the safety power members.”

UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, stated in a tweet that he was “horrified at extra loss of life” because the military “escalates its brutality in Myanmar.”

“From water cannons to rubber bullets to tear fuel and now hardened troops firing level clean at peaceable protesters. This insanity should finish, now!” he stated.

Following the taking pictures, Facebook deleted a web page run by the Myanmar military, the corporate stated.

“In line with our world insurance policies, we have eliminated the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating hurt,” a Facebook spokesperson stated in an announcement.

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