Myanmar’s major trade unions called on members to shut down the economy from Monday to support a campaign against last month’s coup, turning up the pressure on the junta as security forces cracked down on demonstrators staging widespread protests.
“To continue economic and business activities as usual...will only benefit the military as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people,” an alliance of nine unions said.
“The time to take action in defence of our democracy is now. We call for...the full extended shutdown of the Myanmar economy,” they said in a joint statement.
A spokesman for the military did not answer calls seeking comment.
The call by the unions came as an official from the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi died overnight in police custody. The cause of death of National League for Democracy official Khin Maung Latt was not known.
Ba Myo Thein, a member of the upper house of parliament 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.”
Some of the biggest protests in recent weeks were staged on Sunday. Police fired stun grenades and tear gas to break up a sit-in by tens of thousands of people in Mandalay, the Myanmar Now media group said. At least 70 people were arrested.
(Reuters), 7 March, 2021