03/10/2021, 10.57
MYANMAR
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Yangon, raid on striking railway workers

by Francis Khoo Thwe

The railway workers among the first to adhere to civil disobedience movement. The country's economy, largely in the hands of the military, is suffering with a boycott of products linked to foreign companies, especially from Singapore and China. The Japanese Kirin breaks its contract with a holding company owned by the junta. At least 100 policemen who fled to India seek political asylum: their superiors told them to "shoot [the demonstrators] until they die".

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The security forces have launched a raid on a series of buildings where railway workers are striking.

Railway workers were among the first to initiate the civil disobedience movement which includes doctors, nurses, government and bank employees, factory and shop workers and employees. Because of this, the country’s economy, largely in the hands of the military, is suffering greatly.

Meanwhile, a new demonstration is taking place today in Mandalay. But security force violence increases hand in hand with the demonstrations. According to the Association for Aid to Political Prisoners, more than a month after the coup d'état at least 60 demonstrators were killed and more than 1,900 people were arrested.

In the country, the population has decided to undertake a boycott of products linked to foreign companies that indirectly collaborate with the junta, in particular products from Singapore and China. Japanese beverage company Kirin has cancelled its contract with the military-linked holding company Mehl.

There has been a clear condemnation of the coup by many Western countries and also part of the UN Security Council, but China and Russia are holding back a motion for a sentence and even using the word "coup."

Even the ASEAN countries, close to Myanmar, have so far only asked for an end to the violence and the resumption of the "inclusive" democratic path, without condemning anyone.

According to US Department of Justice documents the junta has hired the Israeli-Canadian lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe and his firm Dickens & Madson Canada to urge countries and even the UN to look favourably on the military coup. The list of countries to be targeted include the US, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Israel and Russia.

However, the junta is also crumbling within. In addition to the 600 soldiers who abandoned the army and other law enforcement departments, the story has recently emerged of at least 100 policemen who fled with their families across the Indian border and are now seeking political asylum. Some of them said they had decided to give up their duties and flee after receiving orders from their superiors to "shoot [the demonstrators] until they die".

In an interrogation with the Indian police they said: "In a similar scenario - we do not have the strength to shoot at our own people, who are demonstrating peacefully."

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