• Friday, Apr 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:04 pm

Unions call for total strike in Myanmar, Suu Kyi party official dies in custody

  • Published at 08:57 am March 8th, 2021
Myanmar protest
People disperse after security forces fired shots at protesters in Nyaung-U, Myanmar, March 7, 2021 in this still image taken from video provided on social media. Video taken March 7, 2021 Reuters

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit, said the army was 'intentionally terrorizing residents' in Yangon

Myanmar's major trade unions called on members to shut down the economy from Monday to back a campaign against last month's coup, raising pressure on the junta as its forces fired weapons and occupied hospitals in the main city Yangon after a day of massive protests.

Witnesses reported sounds of gunfire or stun grenades in many districts of the commercial capital after nightfall, as soldiers set up camp in hospitals and university compounds, local media reported. It was not clear whether anyone was hurt.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit, said the army was "intentionally terrorizing residents" in Yangon.

The show of force came after some of the largest nationwide protests since the Feb. 1 coup, and an alliance of nine unions said they planned a “full extended shutdown" of the economy.

"To continue economic and business activities as usual...will only benefit the military as they repress the energy of the Myanmar people," they said in a joint statement. "The time to take action in defence of our democracy is now.”

Also read - China says willing to engage with all parties to ease Myanmar situation

A spokesman for the military did not answer calls seeking comment and Reuters was unable to reach police for comment. The army has said it is dealing with protests lawfully.

An official from the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi died overnight in police custody. National League for Democracy (NLD) official Khin Maung Latt had worked as a campaign manager for one of two Muslim MPs elected in 2020.

Ba Myo Thein, a member of parliament's upper house which was dissolved after the coup, said reports of bruising to Khin Maung Latt's head and body raised suspicions that he had been abused.

"It seems that he was arrested at night and tortured severely," he told Reuters. "This is totally unacceptable."

Police in Pabedan, the Yangon district where Khin Maung Latt was arrested, declined to comment.

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