() – Myanmar’s main unions prepared for Monday’s strikes to try to squeeze the country’s fragile economy and put pressure on new military rulers, as calls for continued protests across the country were renewed on weekends of violence and night raids.
Witnesses reported the sound of gunfire and startling bombs overnight in various parts of the Yangon commercial citation, while state media said Monday that security forces were present in hospitals and universities as part of law enforcement efforts.
At least nine unions covering sectors including construction, agriculture and manufacturing have called on “all the people of Myanmar” to stop work on reversing the February 1 coup and rebuilding the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Allowing business and economic activities to continue would help the military “because it suppresses the energy of the people of Myanmar,” the statement said.
“It’s time to start defending our democracy,” it is said.
Women’s groups called for the Htamain (Sarong) movement to mobilize in force and mark International Women’s Day as it condemned the junta.
Some of the biggest protests in recent weeks took place on Sunday, with police firing stunning grenades and tear gas to break up demonstrations in Yangon, the northern city of Lashio, and gather tens of thousands of people, Mandalay’s second-largest city.
Police and the army killed more than 50 people to quell daily demonstrations and strike strikes, according to the United Nations.
Protest leader Maung Saungkha on Facebook called on women to strongly oppose the coup on Monday, while Nay Chi, one of the organizers of the Sarong movement, described the women as “revolutionaries”.
“Our people are unarmed but wise. They are trying to rule with fear, but we will fight that fear,” she told.
At least three protests were held in Yangon on Sunday, despite raids by security forces on campaign leaders and opposition activists.
Official and local campaign leader from the National League for Democracy (NLD) Suu Kyija Khin Maung Latt has died in police custody.
Ba Myo Thein, an ousted MP, said reports of bruises on Khin Maung Latt’s head and body raised suspicions that he was “seriously tortured”.
Police in Pabedan, where Khin Maung Latt was arrested, declined to comment. An army spokesman did not respond to calls asking for comment.
The military said it was legally dealing with the protests.
In a statement Monday, the military said it had arrested 41 people the previous day.
An announcement by the military on the front page of the state newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar on Monday threatened unspecified “action” against anyone working directly or indirectly on a committee of ousted lawmakers that declared itself the country’s legitimate government.
The statement said the board was illegal and had committed “high treason”. A separate report states that the military and police “maintain” hospitals and universities.
The killings have sparked outrage in the West and have been condemned by most democracies in Asia.
The United States and some other Western countries have imposed limited sanctions against the junta, and Australia broke off defensive ties on Sunday, saying it would only deal with non-governmental groups in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s giant neighbor China on Sunday said it was ready to work with “all parties” to alleviate the crisis and not take sides.
Data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners advocacy group show that nearly 1,800 people have been detained under the junta since Sunday.