Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Burma’s main cities on Monday to protest against the military junta in a day of general strike after a tragic weekend in which two protesters were killed by police violence.
Since the morning the main arteries of Rangoon, Naipyidó -the capital-, Mandalay and other towns were occupied by protesters, demanding the restoration of democracy and the release of political prisoners in what could become the largest day of protest since coup d’état perpetrated by the Army on February 1.
In Yangon, the most populated city, the roads near most of the embassies, especially those of the United States and South Korea, had been blocked by the forces of order, as they were especially crowded during the protests.
The protesters came out en masse throughout the country despite police repression that last Saturday cost their lives by police shooting two protesters in Mandalay and the warning issued last night by the military junta that “the path of confrontation” will mean the loss of life.
“The protesters are now inciting people, especially emotional adolescents and young people, to a path of confrontation in which they will suffer the loss of life,” reads the statement from the uniformed officers broadcast on Burmese state television.
Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, was concerned by this “threatening” message and warned the military junta on Twitter that, unlike what happened during the bloody riots in 1988, the actions of the security forces are being recorded, so they will have to take responsibility.
With the two deaths on Saturday, there are already three deaths from the police repression, after confirming on Friday the death of Mya Thwe Thwe Khine, a 20-year-old girl who died of a police shot in a protest, and whose funeral was held this Sunday in Naipyidó.
The Army justified the seizure of power by alleged electoral fraud in the elections last November in which the National League for Democracy, the party led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, swept away, as it did in 2015.