Myanmar Nationwide Strike: Coup forces kill at least 3 anti-coup protesters

Three anti-coup protesters were shot dead in Myanmar on Monday as demonstrators across the country sought to paralyse the economy with strike action following a weekend of night raids and arrests.

Myanmar labour unions called for a nationwide strike on as part of a civil disobedience campaign against the coup. Eighteen unions of major industries including agriculture, energy, mining, construction, food, and transportation have called for a “full-extended shutdown of Myanmar economy.”

Banks, stores, shopping malls and some clothing factories were closed following an appeal by trade unions for a general strike to bring the economy to a standstill.

The junta has warned that civil servants “will be fired” with immediate effect Monday if they continue to strike.

Despite the risk, protesters rallied in parts of the commercial capital Yangon, the second-largest city Mandalay and other towns around the country. In some areas, the authorities once again responded with force.

Myanmar troops invade hospitals and university campuses

Ahead of the nationwide strike, Myanmar forces took over hospitals and university campuses, and ramped up night-time raids, according to local media reports.

Activists feared the their presence could hinder treatment for wounded protesters or enable arrests.

On Monday, international group Physicians for Human Rights condemned the “invasion and occupation of public hospitals and wanton excessive force against civilians.”

“If it was not obvious before, it is absolutely clear now: the Myanmar military will not stop violating the rights of the people of Myanmar until the international community acts decisively to prevent and account for these outrageous acts,” the group said in a statement.

Physicians for Human Rights said the military’s occupation of hospitals was “a violation of international law, which only serves to further undermine a health care system already embattled by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the military’s recent coup d’état.”

It’s the latest move by the military junta, which seized power on February 1, to consolidate its control of the country in the face of mass protests and resistance to its increasingly violent rule. More than 54 people have died in crackdowns on protests, including many teenagers and young people, according to the United Nations.