Thousands of anti-coup activists hold street protests in Myanmar - GulfToday

Thousands of anti-coup activists hold street protests in Myanmar


Protesters march against the coup in Dawei, Myanmar, on Thursday. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Thousands of pro-democracy activists took to the streets in Myanmar on Thursday, according to witnesses and social media posts.

Street protests were held in the commercial capital Yangon, the central city of Monywa and several other towns, a day after a nationwide silent strike saw businesses shut and people stay at home in protest against the military coup in the Southeast Asian country.

Meanwhile, the United States is planning to impose sanctions on two conglomerates controlled by Myanmar's military over the generals Feb. 1 coup and a deadly crackdown, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.


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The move by the US Treasury to blacklist Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and freeze any assets they hold in the United States could come as early as Thursday, sources said.

Responding to a request for comment, MEHL general manager Hla Myo said in an email to Reuters: "The company is basically focusing on business and has no immediate response for now."

A demonstrator speaks using a bullhorn during a protest against the coup in Dawei, Myanmar. Reuters

Myanmar police broke up a street demonstration in the city of Mawlamyine and arrested 20 people, the Hinthar Media Corp said. At least two people were injured but there were no other reports immediately of casualties elsewhere.

Nant Khi Phyu Aye, one of the those on the street, said many of the protesters were youngsters. "They want to protest every day without skipping one day," she told Reuters.

"Are we united? Yes we are," protesters shouted in Monywa. "The revolution must prevail."

At least 286 people have been killed as security forces resorted to lethal force as they tried to quell weeks of unrest since the Feb. 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.

In a sign of growing international pressure, the United States is planning to impose sanctions on two conglomerates controlled by Myanmar's military, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Wednesday's silent strike left normally bustling areas of commercial hubs like Yangon and Monywa virtually deserted.

This photo shows the view of the street during a silent strike against the coup in Dawei, Myanmar on Wednesday. Reuters

While the scale of the street protests had been dropping in recent days, activists have called for big demonstrations on Thursday.

"The strongest storm comes after the silence," protest leader Ei Thinzar Maung said in a social media post.

Candle-lit vigils took place across the country again overnight, photographs on social media showed.

In Thanlyin on the outskirts of Yangon, protesters held up placards reading: "We don't accept military coup", while medical staff wearing white coats held a dawn march in the second city of Mandalay.

Five more people were wounded overnight in Mandalay, Myanmar's second city, Myanmar Now media outlet reported.

A 16-year-old man later died after being shot in the back, the outlet said.

The funeral of a seven-year-old girl killed on Tuesday, the youngest known victim of the crackdown, took place on Wednesday in Mandalay.

A spokesman for the military, which said on Tuesday 164 protesters had been killed, did not answer calls seeking comment.

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