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  • the military in Myanmar has warned anti coup protesters that they risk their lives if they continue to demonstrate against military rule.

  • Despite the threat, thousands of protesters flocked to the streets and cities across the country, including in the economic capital Yangon, where demonstrators chanted and called for a return to democracy.

  • Shops and businesses were also shot on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military seizure of power.

  • Earlier, I spoke to Kuala Lumpur based journalist Dave Gruenebaum, who has many years experience reporting from Myanmar, and asked him if the general strike there was taking hold.

  • Yes, this nationwide strike It is big.

  • It has a lot of momentum behind it.

  • Ah, lot of major retailers have closed down, including the largest supermarket chain in the country city Mark.

  • We've got restaurant chains, both domestic brands and international brand that have closed down.

  • Food delivery seems to be closed down.

  • A lot of mom and pop shops across the country completely closed down now.

  • I spoke to some contacts this morning in Yangon and tell me when it comes to the number of demonstrators on the streets they expect today we'll see the largest number of demonstrators we've seen so far in Yangon, and it's still early afternoon there, so we have to see how these demonstrations developed throughout the day.

  • But when you look at the numbers we're seeing so far, and you look at the video that's coming in from Yangon, Mandalay, the second biggest city in the country, as well as other communities, they really seem tohave just massive numbers.

  • Thes protesters.

  • They are not backing down.

  • There were deadly incidents in Mandalay over the weekend.

  • Uh, there's the young woman who died in Naypyidaw last week as well, but they have not deterred the demonstrations there committed to this movement against the military.

  • Uh, the military junta gave out a statement and it said, in a quota, protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youth too confrontational path where they will suffer the loss oflife.

  • How significant is that threat for the protest movement?

  • Uh, it's a very significant.

  • I mean, there's nothing ambiguous about it.

  • It's a clear threat about the potential for them to step up with deadly force in mass numbers.

  • We've seen them use it in some isolated incidents so far, but they haven't used in this particular case of mass numbers.

  • But these demonstrators are keenly aware that this is a military that in past circumstances such as 1988 in 2007, among others, have opened fired on large numbers of demonstrators.

  • So the question now is, When would the line be crossed when the military would go that route again?

  • They know that that video of that information is gonna get out fast.

  • It's a different world now that's much more connected, compared to 1988 in 2007.

  • So the question is, where is the line for the military to go that route?

  • Because right now they clearly do not have control over the country.

  • So is there a point where they decide that's the only way they can establish control over the country?

  • If you see you see a way out of this standoff, the longer this goes on, the longer it seems that it's gonna be tougher for them to come up with a peaceful way to resolve it.

  • You've got a military led by generals who have spent their entire adult lives in the very insular world of the Myanmar army.

  • It's really?

  • Just about all they know.

  • Then you've got these demonstrators, demonstrators and the public at large in Myanmar that got a taste of democracy in recent years.

  • They saw the economic opportunities they've been going in recent years.

  • And they want that to keep moving forward.

  • They don't wanna go back to military rule.

  • A military that ruled this country for roughly 50 years.

  • And it was an economic disaster.

  • They don't wanna go back to that.

  • But here's the other thing.

  • A lot of these demonstrators have not been working this entire month, Andi.

  • Then we're approaching the end of February.

  • And when we get to the end of February and these people don't get paid, are they gonna be able to go another month, March without pay?

  • That's a big question here.

  • So next week could be a real gut check for a lot of demonstrators.

  • Journalist Steve Cram Bond talking to us there from Kuala Lumpur.

  • Thank you.

  • Sure.

  • Thanks.

  • Okay.

  • We can speak now to Sam and activists in Myanmar who would like to stay anonymous to protect his identity.

  • Sam, thank you for joining us now.

  • The junta, as we heard there is warning that protesters are risking their lives if they continue to demonstrate.

  • And we know that two protesters were shot over the weekend where you are in Mandalay.

  • Uh, what exactly does that make you think?

  • You and your fellow activists will you continue to go out into the streets?

  • Yes.

  • We're December into, uh, to do this till the end because, uh, right now, uh, innocent blood, innocent blood has been spilled, and we don't want that to be, you know, for nothing.

  • So we have to keep fighting, uh, to get until we get the democracy.

  • Are you worried about what the consequences might be?

  • Yeah.

  • For now, the military has been threatening people with deadly force.

  • Is that way, Know that afraid anymore?

  • Because thes are the same things that they have tried in, uh, 1988.

  • We all know this, uh, their techniques and we are will be prepared.

  • So we're not a free anymore.

  • Yeah.

  • At the same time, there is also a nationwide strike a strike today.

  • Tell us more about that approach and how that's affecting businesses across the country.

  • Well, shops and businesses, businesses has been closed for today, and we I see that tens of thousands of people are participating in the in this protest.

  • So this sense a very big message to that to the Honda Honda that we're not gonna take their rule anymore.

  • And there's also sense sent a message to the whole world that we have a sense of unity in our voices.

  • And we are well committed to take this to the end.

  • Sam, it seems like neither side is backing down here.

  • Do you think there is still a window for a peaceful resolution to this crisis?

  • Yes.

  • People are calling for absolute demolition off the military junta.

  • And, um, for me personally, I feel like they need to go because they have bean responsible for so many evil and suffering off many people, so yeah, personally, I don't I don't see any compromise having with the with the junta.

  • We'll have to leave it there.

  • Sam and activists joining us from Myanmar.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you.

the military in Myanmar has warned anti coup protesters that they risk their lives if they continue to demonstrate against military rule.

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/22
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