Trade unions call for total strike in Myanmar
Published : Sunday, 7 March, 2021 at 11:59 PM Count : 312
Myanmar’s major trade unions called on members to shut down the economy from Monday to back a campaign against last month’s coup, raising pressure on the junta as its forces cracked down on protesters and occupied hospitals in the main city Yangon.
Witnesses reported sounds of gunfire or stun grenades in several areas of the commercial capital after nightfall, as soldiers set up camp in hospitals and university compounds, local media reported. It was not clear whether anyone was hurt.
The move came after some of the largest nationwide protests since the Feb. 1 coup and an alliance of nine unions said they planned the “full extended shutdown of the Myanmar economy”.
“To continue economic and business activities as usual...will only benefit the military as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people,” they said in a joint statement.
“The time to take action in defence of our democracy is now.”
A spokesman for the military did not answer calls seeking comment.
The unions’ call came as an official from the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi died overnight in police custody. National League for Democracy (NLD) official Khin Maung Latt had worked as a campaign manager for one of two Muslim MPs elected in 2020.
Ba Myo Thein, a member of parliament’s upper house which was dissolved after the coup, said reports of bruising to Khin Maung Latt’s head and body raised suspicions that he had been abused.
“It seems that he was arrested at night and tortured severely,” he told Reuters. “This is totally unacceptable.”