Protest against military junta: Loud silence in Myanmar

Status: 10.12.2021 2:13 p.m.

Closed shops, empty streets: a “silent strike” paralyzed large parts of Myanmar. The population is protesting against the harshness of the military junta. Recently, there has been an increasing number of reports of human rights violations.

Numerous people in Myanmar went on a “silent strike” to protest against the military junta. Most of the shops were closed on Friday, and the streets were mostly empty, even in the largest city of Yangon. Most people stayed in their homes all day, local media reported. The “silent strike” falls on International Human Rights Day.

“We have to send the message to the world that the worst human rights violations are taking place in Myanmar,” said activist Khin Sandar. “Silence is the loudest scream. We want our rights back.” The “Movement for Civil Disobedience” (CDM) declared as one of the initiators of the strike on Twitter: “To be able to bring the whole country to a standstill is the real show of force. We, the people, have the power.”

The “silent strike” is particularly difficult “because it would not be possible without massive cooperation and the massive involvement of the people,” continued CDM. The local military administrations had tried unsuccessfully to force shops that took part in the strike to open.

More than 1,300 dead

Myanmar has been plunging into chaos and violence since a coup on February 1st. Generals ousted the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi and have ruled with an iron fist ever since. Any resistance is suppressed with brutal severity. There are hardly any mass demonstrations like in the weeks after the coup. According to estimates by the prisoners’ aid organization AAPP, around 1,300 people were killed. More than 10,000 were arrested.

UN criticizes human rights violations

The UN human rights office in Geneva was recently alarmed by the recent escalation of violence on the part of the military. “Security forces killed and burned eleven people, including five minors, and drove vehicles in demonstrators exercising their basic right to peaceful assembly,” said the Geneva office spokesman.

The incident happened on December 7th. Militia fighters reportedly attacked an army unit in the Sagaing region. The security forces attacked the village of Done Taw as a result. Villagers later found the bodies of the eleven victims – the youngest was 14 years old – cremated.

The London-based organization “Myanmar Accountability Project” (MAP) called for a lawsuit against ruler Min Aung Hlaing on. Evidence was given to the International Criminal Court in The Hague that the junta chief was responsible for crimes against humanity. The widespread and systematic use of torture was part of the violent crackdown on the protest movement, said MAP.

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