Protestors in Myanmar hold general strike in latest push for democracy

Protestors have instigated a general strike in one of the biggest shows of opposite taken by the people of Myanmar as its people look to secure peace following a chaotic few weeks.

Businesses across the country’s capital, major cities and even coastal towns have closed as part of the strike as a series of peaceful protests continued nationwide as they look to put an end to the military rule which has been in place for three weeks.

Known as the “22222 Revolution” because it took place on 22nd February, it is being compared to protests which took place more than three decades ago in 1988, known as the 8888 uprising which resulted in the deaths of 100s of anti-government protestors.

The shutdown in businesses is being seen as a major step of defiance despite the country’s economic hardship following the coronavirus pandemic. Strikes are expected to continue in the coming days with the country likely grinding to a halt.

Since 1st February, the country has been under military rule following a coup d’état lead by Min Aung Hlaing who declared the November 2020 election fraudulent and overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. They then placed her under house arrest, charging her with possessing illegal walkie-talkies and violating the country’s Natural Disaster Law.

This sparked widespread protests across Myanmar with people taking to the streets to demand an end to the military rule.  Protesters are demanding an end to the military’s rule and want Ms San Suu Kyi released, along with senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

However, the country has entered even further unrest following the military declaring the protests as inciting violence which will lead to a loss of life if they are not stopped. So far, they have kept this promise by using force to put an end to the protests and has so far seen three people die while many more injured. In the country’s capital Nay Pyi Taw, the city saw more than 100 people arrested as the public flew banners declaring “Power to the People” in a clear sign that they will not back down until peace is restored.

The calls for peace are being heard worldwide and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres used address to the UN Human Rights Council to demand peace and end the military repression. While the US, UK and EU have threatened to impose sanctions on Myanmar in response to the violence.

Since gaining its independence from the UK in 1948, Myanmar, formerly Burma, has most been under military rule which saw many people fall victim to a violent and oppressive regime. Despite change in 2010 which saw a shift towards more democratic policies and ideas, the country has remained suspect to instability.

Other factors such as climate change, have also contributed to this with Myanmar listed by Global the Climate Risk Index as one of the five countries most affected by climate change. It was also shown to be one of the 12 countries to also be engaged in some form of conflict.