Myanmar army faces crippling mass strike on ninth day of protests

WION Web Team
Yangon, Myanmar Published: Feb 14, 2021, 06:58 PM(IST)

Protests in Myanmar Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets for a ninth day of anti-coup demonstrations. People protested across the nation after a fearful night as residents formed patrols and the army rolled back laws protecting freedoms.

New army rulers in Myanmar grappled to contain a strike by government workers on Sunday, crippling their ability to run the country.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets for a ninth day of anti-coup demonstrations. People protested across the nation after a fearful night as residents formed patrols and the army rolled back laws protecting freedoms.

In addition, a civil disobedience movement to protest against the February 1 coup that deposed the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, which started with doctors, now affects a swathe of government departments.

To this end, the junta ordered civil servants to go back to work on Saturday, threatening action.

But hundreds of railway workers joined demonstrations in the commercial capital Yangon on Sunday, even as police went to their housing compound on the outskirts of the city to order them back to work. The police were forced to leave after angry crowds gathered.

Soldiers were deployed to power plants in the northern Kachin state, leading to a confrontation with protesters who said they believed they intended to cut off the electricity to carry out nightly arrests.

Engineering students marched through downtown Yangon, the biggest city, wearing white and carrying placards demanding the release of ousted leader Suu Kyi, who has been in detention since the coup and charged with importing walkie talkies.

Many of the protesters nationwide held up images of Suu Kyi. Her detention is due to expire on Monday.

More than 384 people have been detained since the coup, the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said, in a wave of mostly nightly arrests.

Residents banded together late on Saturday to patrol streets in Yangon and the country's second-largest city Mandalay, fearing arrest raids as well as common crime.

Also late on Saturday, the army reinstated a law requiring people to report overnight visitors to their homes, allowed security forces to detain suspects and search private property without court approval, and ordered the arrest of well-known backers of mass protests.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in a November election that the army said was tainted with fraud - an accusation dismissed by the electoral commission.

(with inputs from agencies)

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