Tens of thousands of people have turned out to be protesting in the streets of Myanmar’s major cities as part of a general strike against the military coup.
Businesses are closed as owners and employees join the strike.
Protesters became agitated over a military statement warning that they were heading down a path “where they will suffer loss of life”.
Myanmar has seen weeks of protest following the February 1 coup.
“Protesters are now encouraging the people to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of human lives,” a statement from state television company MRTV said, warning of protests against “riots and anarchy”.
The warning comes after at least two people were killed in protests on Sunday – the worst violence yet in more than two weeks of demonstrations.
Military leaders overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and have put her under house arrest and accused her of having illegal walkie-talkies and violating the country’s natural disaster law.
Protesters are demanding an end to the military action and want her released along with senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Foreign pressure on military leaders has also been high.
Later on Monday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will call for Mrs Suu Kyi to be released.
What is hpening today?
Demonstrations are taking place in all of Myanmar’s largest cities, with people waving flags and singing.
Local media have tweeted pictures of lots of crowds gathering in different parts of the country.
The general strike “Two Five” against the military regime on 22.2.2021 is growing hour by hour in the center of Yangon marked by the old Sule pagoda. # 2Fivegeneralstrike #WhatIsHpeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/ClwDvxk36q
– Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) February 22, 2021
Thousands gather in the center of Sule, which had been blocked by police on Friday and Saturday pic.twitter.com/OtJayeklxR
– Andrew Nachemson (@ANachemson) February 22, 2021
Thompson Chau, editor of local media business Frontier, told the BBC’s World Service that today’s protests “feel much bigger than before, with more roads blocked, motorways blocked and shops closed everywhere we go”.
“Today is more of a huge strike in the sense that not everyone has to work. All stores are closed.”
Sir. Chau adds that even those working for “official state-owned companies, reporting and tax departments, government doctors, engineers” are all on strike.
There have been no reports of violence today despite strict warnings from the military about state media.
Monday’s protest, nicknamed the “22222 Revolution” because it takes place on February 22, is compared by protesters to demonstrations on August 8, 1988 – also known as the 8888 uprising – when Myanmar saw one of its most violent protests. .
The Burmese military cracked down on anti-government demonstrations, killing hundreds of protesters. For many, the date is seen as a watershed at the moment in Myanmar.
Myanmar in profile
Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history, it has been under military rule.
Restrictions began to loosen from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.
In 2017, militants from the ethnic group Rohingya attacked police stations, and Myanmar’s army and local Buddhist crowds responded with a deadly breakdown, allegedly killing thousands of Rohingya. More than half a million Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh, and the UN later called it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”