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General strike against Burma's junta!

Pierre ROUSSET: The success of February 22nd shows that the resistance movement against military rule has grown even stronger.
The Civil Disobedience Movement called for this one-day general strike, three weeks after the February 1 coup. Media reports confirm the success: across the country, offices, businesses, markets, shops and restaurants were closed. Neighbourhoods were barricaded, roads were cut.

The military junta had tried to prevent this success by increasing the repression. There were more than 400 arrests. Sometimes, live ammunition was used. In Naypyidaw, the administrative capital, a 19-year-old grocer Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was killed. Her burial was followed by a long motorcade. A protest in her memory was held in Rangoon (Yangon), the business capital and largest city. This assassination radicalized the protest.

Another large protest took place in the port of Mandalay, where security forces shot dead two people, while trying to force strikers refusing to load a ship to work.

On Monday, February 22, the military took preventative measures deploying tanks, erecting barricades and positioning military convoys to close access to urban centres. This did not deter the demonstrators who dismantled the barricades or gathered in front of the soldiers.

Right from the start, the resistance to this coup has brought together a wide range of people, with healthcare workers and the educated youth of Generation Z at the forefront. The movement also gathers powerful formal or informal associations of public sector workers, private employees, entrepreneurs and traders. The opposition has spread to new groups and new regions over the last three weeks. A union led by women in an industrial area in Rangoon is helping to amplify protests in the city centre. LGBT groups are very active. A peasant mobilization is taking shape. (Some) police officers side with the demonstrators. Buddhist monks are showing their support (but the religious establishment is not). The demonstrators have chosen non-violence, combining “fluid” actions and massive static gatherings. Overall, despite isolated incidents, there appears to have been no brutal repression to date.

The resistance quickly acquired a framework for coordination: the Civil Disobedience Movement. This aims to ensure the continuation of the struggle over time and in solidarity. Striking in Burma is not without consequences. Even civil servants (public sector employees) find themselves without income; there are no unions and strike funds able to support them. If the struggle fails, it is their job that is at stake. Many local initiatives have been taken, often by well-known personalities, to help strikers’ families by providing accommodation, food, etc. The existence of the MDC has facilitated this mutual aid, even if it is only a partial and temporary answer.

The creation of the MDC is one of the striking differences from the previous massive movement against the military order, initiated on August 8, 1988 by students, lawyers, doctors and – also then - civil servants. That movements was opposed to the "socialist" and dictatorial regime of General Ne Win. In 1980s Burma, the word "socialist" certainly did not have the meaning generally accorded to it. Back then, the junta defined its’ vision as "socialist and anti-communist".

Nobody in Burma can forget the massacre of 3,000 or more in 1988. But history is not doomed to repeat itself. Protesters insist that this new “Four Twos” movement(for 22.02.21) will be much bigger than the old “Four Eights” movement (for 08.08.1988). The country is no longer isolated. Nowadays the military commands two powerful economic conglomerates whose profits depend on regional trade (Singapore is the largest source of foreign investment). The training of today’s senior officers, including General Min Aung Hlaing, is quite different from the training of the officer corps under Ne Win.

The February 1 coup shows that the military does not want to give up any of its power. But, faced with the power of popular mobilization, the military might try to play for time rather than unleash a bloodbath. Either way, there is no turning back. The determination of the movement reflects the feeling that there is no acceptable outcome other than victory - and that victory is possible this time!

Five Tows: Millions in Myanmar Join Nationwide General Strike Against Military Regime

By Kyaw Phyo Tha

YANGON—Undeterred by security forces' recent deadly crackdowns, millions of Myanmar people joined a nationwide general strike against their country's military junta on Monday, intensifying their opposition to the men in uniform who overthrew the elected civilian government more than three weeks ago.
Myanmar woke up on Monday to a nation in which many businesses, from markets to restaurants to roadside vendors, were shut down—and would remain so for the whole day—as people went out to join the (...)

- Burma / Myanmar

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Myanmar's coup from the eyes of ethnic minorities

By Anonymous

In the early days after the Myanmar military seized power on 1 February, many people from ethnic minority groups viewed the coup as a fight between and the military and the NLD, who they regard as having failed to promote the rights of ethnic minorities during its first term in government. I believe that, driven by their resentment towards the NLD, the coup reminded many ethnic people of their darkest hours under NLD government. Many do not feel belonging to the Union and believe their (...)

- Burma / Myanmar / , , , , ,

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'We can't accept it': Myanmar's public sector workers strike for democracy

By The Guardian

As a government worker adjusts her conical hat, protesters move forward with their umbrellas to shield her from the sun. Many of her colleagues on strike against the Myanmar military coup have gone into hiding, but she is sat outside a police barricade.
“I have two children,” says the 34-year-old. “This is for their future, because if the regime stays in power, there will be no hope.”
When the military overthrew the democratically elected National League for Democracy government on 1 (...)

- Burma / Myanmar

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Burma: Millions Expected to Join General Strike in Myanmar on Monday to Oppose Regime

By The Irrawaddy

YANGON—A nationwide general strike against Myanmar's military regime has been called for Monday with the aim of accelerating the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against the repressive military regime, which overthrew the elected civilian government three weeks ago.
It's likely that millions of people from all walks of life will pour out onto the streets across the country, as the regime's recent deadly crackdowns against ongoing protests have outraged many people.
If it happens, Monday's (...)

- Burma / Myanmar /

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The repression of the August 8-12 1988 (8-8-88) uprising in Burma/Myanmar

By EGRETEAU Renaud

A. Context
Since the military coup of March 2, 1962, the Burmese armed forces (Tatmadaw) had been holding power in Burma. Under the leadership of General Ne Win (1910-2002) who established a socialist and autarchic military regime, Burma isolated itself from the outside world for almost three decades (1962-1988). But after 25 years of a “Burmese way to socialism”, the country was classified as one of the world's Least Developed Countries by the United Nations and was on the verge of a (...)

- History of struggles (Burma/Myanmar) / ,

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Analysis – Keep the Streets: Coup, Crisis, and Capital in Myanmar

By LEVENSON Zachary, Soe Lin Aung (Geoffrey Aung)

On February 1, the Tatmadaw – Myanmar's armed forces – arrested State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and seized the reins of government, likely putting a halt to the country's recent slide toward democracy. Spectre editor Zachary Levenson interviewed Geoffrey Aung (Soe Lin Aung), a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at Columbia University, whose research focuses on the politics of infrastructure in and around Myanmar's economic zones and trade corridors. Building upon his analysis published in Chuang (...)

- Burma / Myanmar / , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Rohingya persecution (Western Myanmar): Three Theses on the Crisis in Rakhine

By Soe Lin Aung (Geoffrey Aung)

Soe Lin Aung offers an intervention into analyses of the Rohingya crisis.
By now, the main contours of the recent events in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, are well-known. On August 25, an insurgent group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) (previously Harakah al-Yaqin) attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, eliciting a broad counterinsurgency response from the Myanmar military that has displaced over 400,000 Rohingya people into Bangladesh. As in previous (...)

- Rohingyas (Burma/Myanmar) / , , , , , , ,

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Statement: Burma's Democracy Façade Has Broken – Coup Or Not, Ethnic People Expect More of the Same – Displacement, Land Grabs and Militarisation

By Karen News

It's taken 10 years for the veneer to finally fall off Burma's military-backed democracy. The military's made its intentions clear in the early hours of Monday morning. It had had enough. A huge election in November 2020 win by Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD. Talk of economic reforms targeting military businesses and amendments to the 2008 Constitution was enough to crack the façade and reinforce the military's fears of the huge election approval for the NLD.
Monday was to be the opening session of (...)

- Burma / Myanmar /

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Notes on a Coup: An overall analysis – The time for resistance is here

By Soe Lin Aung (Geoffrey Aung)

As night fell in Yangon this week, the city echoed every night with the sound of residents banging pots and pans and drivers honking their horns—noise to drive away evil spirits. In Mandalay, medical workers gathered in formation, their masked faces lit by phone flashlights. They sang the anthem of the 1988 uprising, Kabar Makyay Bu, its title a promise of un-ending struggle against military rule: “We won't be satisfied until the end of the world.” As reports of arrests mounted this week, (...)

- Burma / Myanmar / , , , , ,

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Myanmar Solidarity Statement from Japan

By Researchers and Media Practitioners in Support of Myanmar's Democratization

A statement in support of Myanmar's democratization from media and academia in Japan.
On February 1st 2021, Myanmar's military (Tatmadaw) seized power and detained democratically elected government officials. The history must not be repeated that Tatmadaw takes extreme measures in defying the results of democratically held general elections. Since the coup, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have taken great risks in taking to the streets to seek political change, and the (...)

- Burma / Myanmar / ,

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The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) Movement Unmasks China's Meddling in Myanmar

By Aung Zaw

China is feeling defensive. Facing daily protests in front of the Chinese Embassy in Yangon, Ambassador Chen Hai insisted to local media on Monday that the current situation in Myanmar is “absolutely not what China wants to see”. With public anger growing in Myanmar toward Beijing over its perceived support for the military regime, he asserted that “Both the National League for Democracy and the Tatmadaw [Myanmar's military] maintain friendly relations with China.”
Since the military staged a (...)

- Burma / Myanmar / , , , , ,

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