Protesters stage strike in Myanmar to mark coup anniversary

03:35 PM

Tuesday 01 February 2022

Bangkok – (DPA):

Protesters in Myanmar staged an “anti-coup strike” across the country on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the coup, participants and local news websites said.

The military staged a coup d’état in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, toppling the civilian head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since then, Myanmar has been plagued by chaos and violence. Myanmar’s military has launched attacks and raids on protesters and civilians across the country to stop anti-coup activities.

The demonstrators organized sporadic protests this morning in different cities across the country, chanting slogans calling for freedom and justice.

Civilians from different cities joined the “silent strike” to protest the anniversary of the coup, which led to the closure of the business sector and the emptiness of the streets in an attempt to challenge the coup.

“I didn’t go to work today. Because even if I can’t join the demonstrations on the ground, I have to take part in it,” Sin Sen, 23, a saleswoman in Yangon told dpa.

Activists called on citizens to stay at home, and to close shops and factories today.

The military council threatened to arrest anyone participating in the silent strike.

Meanwhile, a UN official said on Tuesday that the United Nations was examining reports that more than 1,000 people had been killed in Myanmar over the past year in circumstances that might qualify as crimes against humanity or war crimes.

Nicholas Komjian, head of the Independent Investigation Mechanism on Myanmar, said security forces have detained thousands of civilians in circumstances that include credible allegations of forced detention, torture, sexual violence and even killings in custody.

“The mechanism is working hard to prove and document facts proving these reports in order to determine whether these crimes were committed or not, and if they were committed, to determine who is criminally responsible, and to prepare files that can facilitate trial processes,” Komjian said in a statement.

“A large amount of reports and materials related to these events have already been collected,” he added.

He noted that investigations into serious international crimes “have always been a challenge.”

“It usually takes a long time and sufficient resources to prepare good cases,” he said.

On the other hand, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called for further action.

“Now is not the time for more rhetoric, but the time for useful action,” he said. “The international community must take strong and meaningful steps to prevent the Military Council from obtaining weapons, funding and legitimacy,” he added.

He added that the people of Myanmar deserve better from the United Nations.

He explained, “The Military Council operates as a criminal institution, committing murder, torture, kidnapping and forced displacement, all in addition to stealing revenues and confiscating assets that belong to the people of Myanmar.”

“The worst is that he seems to be getting away with it. The council’s attacks are continuing non-stop. The suffering of the people of Myanmar is increasing,” he added.

Andrews’ call comes as the United Nations has called for donations, saying there are 14.4 million people in Myanmar in need of help. The United Nations is seeking to support 6.2 million people with its programme, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Emergency Affairs.

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