Burma: unions call for a “complete shutdown” of the economy against the junta

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RANGOUN | The main Burmese unions have called for an intensification of the strike on Monday to stifle the country’s fragile economy and put pressure on the junta, the day after another day of repression against pro-democracy protesters and raids by security forces.

• Read also: Burma: new night raids by security forces in Yangon

• Read also: Burma: new protests, the UN divided

“Now is the time to act. We call for […] the complete and prolonged shutdown of the economy, ”wrote nine federations, notably representing workers in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction sectors.

Allowing economic activities to continue would only help the army which “suppresses the energy of the Burmese people,” they added in a joint statement.

The junta, for its part, warned officials: those who will not have returned to work from Monday will be dismissed.

Burma: unions call for a

The calls to strike, launched in the first hours following the coup d’état of 1er February, have already had a big impact on many sectors, with banks unable to function, hospitals closed and ministerial offices empty.

Several voices also called on Burmese citizens to take to the streets in numbers on March 8, International Women’s Rights Day.

Early in the morning, security forces were deployed in numbers in certain neighborhoods of Yangon, the economic capital.

“They are using stun grenades to prevent protesters from assembling,” a resident of Sanchaung, the scene of violence in recent days, told AFP.

Monks, students, civil servants: thousands of Burmese demonstrated on Sunday across the country, especially in Mandalay (center) where a large sit-in was organized.

Burma: unions call for a

The police and the army used tear gas, rubber ammunition, but also live ammunition to disperse rallies, according to testimonies collected by AFP.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested and several injured, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Demonstrations that were held “in residential areas, within the confines of religious buildings, hospitals and a campus were violently repressed”, according to the Burmese NGO. And “police were seen brandishing knives at demonstrators, young people were beaten and kicked.”

Night raids

Security forces were deployed on Sunday evening in several neighborhoods in Rangoon and detonations were heard.

Saturday night raids had already targeted officials of the National League for Democracy (LND), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, several had been arrested and a local representative of the movement, Khin Maung Latt, beaten to death.

MPs who do not recognize the legitimacy of the coup and have created a committee to represent the civilian government are guilty of “high treason”, a crime punishable by death or 22 years in prison, the police warned. junta.

More than 50 protesters have been killed since the putsch that overthrew the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

State media deny any police and military involvement in the deaths of civilians, saying they “had to contain riots by law”.

But widely circulated footage showed security forces firing live ammunition at rallies and removing the lifeless bodies of protesters.

Local officials, journalists, activists, artists: hundreds of people have been arrested since the putsch.

Faced with the deterioration of the situation, the Burmese are fleeing.

About fifty, including eight police officers who refused to take part in the repression, reached neighboring India, on the border of which dozens of others gathered.

The generals turn a deaf ear to the concert of protests from the international community, divided on the response to be provided.

The UN Security Council failed on Friday to agree on a joint declaration and negotiations are due to continue this week.

The junta, which challenges the legislative elections of November won overwhelmingly by the NLD, has promised to hold a new ballot, without revealing any timetable.