Civil Disobedience Protests Spread Across Myanmar Cities

Even as there are fears of a bloody military crackdown while a successful general strike with all business establishments shut down in protest in Myanmar, the ‘civil disobedience’ against the coup and for the restoration of democracy has spread across the countryside, in the border states, and in several towns and cities of Myanmar, beyond the big cities of Yangon and Mandalay.

Two protesters were shot dead in Mandalay, while a young girl was killed in the fortress-like capital, Nay Pyi Taw, where, despite its isolation and heavy military barricades, the peaceful protests have spread.

Sources within the various regions in Myanmar, including in the Shan State, informed Lokmarg that the military picks up people. Some of the prisoners are released in the night, even while streets have become battlegrounds. There are reports of houses being burnt in the night to scare the civilians, and entire towns are passing sleepless nights, even as the internet is shut for long hours.

The internet is apparently shut from 1 am to 9 am, whereby people are just not able to communicate, even if there is military action in the neighbourhood. People are resorting to beating pans and utensils to warn others.

“The civilians protest peacefully in the day and the military does arson in the night,” a young protestor in a border state close to China told Lokmarg.

“The media is not free anymore. Laws have been changed in the last 22 days,” sources said. They informed that some journalists have been arrested in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State. There have been cases of police firing with civilian protesters being attacked by armed uniformed men in Myitkyina and Mandalay.

Videos show the police firing tear gas and what seem like bullets, with protesters running helter-skelter. One protester is being carried in a cart, his leg bleeding. “People are protesting peacefully. But they are not always using rubber bullets – they are real bullets,” a protester told Lokmarg. 

While tens of thousands of students led the protests in the big city Yangon, the former capital called Rangoon, the videos show that ordinary people have joined the movement with huge crowds, even in remote areas and the border states. The call of popular icon and leader Aung Saan Suu Kyi, now imprisoned in an unknown location, to protest and restore democracy, seems to have touched a chord across the nation, sick and tired of decades of military dictatorship.

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