Bangkok (EFE).- Burma lives this Wednesday a day of “silent strike” called by pro-democracy groups on the occasion of the second anniversary of the coup d’état of February 1, 2021, which has plunged the country into a spiral of violence and semi-anarchy, without the military having managed to gain control.
“With loud voices from the silence, we have repeatedly toppled the dictator,” the General Strike Coordination Body (GSCB), an amalgamation of Burmese pro-democracy groups including the powerful disobedience movement, said in a statement. civilian that arose after the coup.
This organization, which brings together some thirty strike committees throughout the country, asked the population not to leave their homes between 10:00 and 15:00 (+6:30 GMT) and to empty the streets of Burma.
Several photographs of Yangon to which EFE had access show practically empty streets and roads that are usually full of passers-by and with daily traffic jams, a similar scenario that is perceived in other images of the middle city of Myanmar Now.
The silent strike was already the chosen form of protest with a massive following, especially in large cities, on the first anniversary of the coup, despite the fact that the military authorities pressured and threatened to arrest anyone who participated in the movement.
The information blackout and the precarious internet connections since the coup make it difficult for the moment to follow the strike, although it is not yet known if businesses and institutions have joined en masse.
State of emergency and elections
In addition, the head of the junta, General Ming Aung Hlaing, or a senior military regime official, is expected to make remarks today, with an eye on whether to extend the state of emergency, which Burma has been under since coup and that already lasted for six months last August.
Although the Burmese Constitution sets the limit of the state of emergency in two years, Ming Aung Hlaing hinted the day before in a televised speech, after a meeting with the National Security and Defense Council, that he could find a way to extend it.
The soldier affirmed that the nation continues to be haunted by “acts of terror”, which he could use as a pretext to extend it further, since the magna carta only allows it to be done in “extraordinary” times.
Once the state of emergency ends, the law obliges to call elections in the following six months, to which Ming Aung Hlaing has committed himself on several occasions, although these would hardly have support either in Burma or abroad.
Without support, inside and outside the country
While the military regime is making its way to continue in power, with experts assuring that it only manages to control a quarter of the national territory, the voices against it are increasing both inside and outside the country.
The UN special envoy for Burma (Myanmar), Noeleen Heyzer, said the day before that she sees it as “inconceivable” for the junta to initiate a peaceful transition to democracy, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) described possible future elections as “fraudulent.” ».
In parallel, the United States on Tuesday announced new sanctions, this time targeting six individuals connected to the Burmese military junta, and Australia today revealed the imposition of its first financial sanctions and travel bans against the military and senior officials of the military regime.
Since the coup, Burmese security forces have killed more than 2,900 civilians and detained around 13,800, including the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi – who led the democratic transition from 2011 to 2021 -, according to the data. from the local NGO Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.
A repression that has not stopped strikes like today’s or made the thousands of young people who, having grown up free, surrendered to the fight against the Tatmadaw (the Army) after the coup, forming the forces for the defense of the people (PDF), protected by the Government of National Unity (NUG).
Formed in part by former deputies of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the NUG declares itself the legitimate authority of Burma and operates semi-clandestinely and partially from exile, establishing itself, together with the PDF – which the junta classifies as “terrorists »- as the unexpected enemy to be beaten by the generals.