MYANMAR PROTESTERS HIT WHERE IT HURTS


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As we have been reporting in the Trends Journal, tens of thousands of protesters have been taking to the streets in Myanmar to fight for democracy after a military coup in the country on 1 February upended the country’s democracy and resulted in the arrest of its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The protesters – many of them young people – face an emboldened police force backed by the military. These officers seem to have a willingness to use live rounds on protesters who have gathered by the thousands in main cities. The death toll, as of Sunday, was up to at least 248. Al Jazeera reported that virtually all those killed are shooting victims and most suffered gunshots to the head.
There have been about 2,330 arrests, and streets in major cities resemble war zones, with burning tires and makeshift barricades in place. Martial law has been imposed in districts in Yangon and Mandalay, and last week, there was a 24-hour shutdown of mobile internet.
Western sanctions seem to be ineffective, and protesters know they are no match against heavily-armed and military-backed security forces. Thus, an underground movement emerged that is intent on destroying the country’s economy from the inside out. Doctors and nurses have stayed home from hospitals, and banks have remained closed because tellers don’t arrive to work.
The WSWS news site reported that about 1,000 railway workers and their families fled their homes amid the strike, and up to 70 doctors and other health care workers moved rather than return to work.
The fallout has been foreign companies suspending orders and crops that are ready to be shipped to the market but don’t have anyone to haul them. H&M was one of the clothing chains that announced it would suspend orders.
Some businesses in the country told the Financial Times this week that although they support the protesters up against the military junta, these economy-killing tactics might end up paralyzing the country and wiping out the past decade of gains.
One chief executive told the paper that the civil disobedience movement has been successful in “bringing things to a halt.”
“I guess that is its purpose, but it is a bit of a dangerous game,” the executive said. Peter Mumford, an analyst, told the paper, “If Myanmar collapses into chaos, there would be a significant destabilizing impact on neighboring Thailand and regional supply chains.”
Protesters in Myanmar have raised three-finger salutes, which were embraced by protesters last year in Thailand as a symbol of resistance. The protesters carried placards that read, “Reject the military coup” and “Justice for Myanmar.”
Martial Law Imposed
The military has been cracking down on protesters in areas described in reports as working-class suburbs.
MRTV, the state broadcaster, said last week that the military planned to take over courts and dole out sentences. The only person who could issue a reprieve is General Min Aung Hlaing, the top military leader in the country. 
WSWS reported authorities in Malaysia warned residents if they failed to remove roadblocks that were put in place to block soldiers, the soldiers have the right to open fire into their homes.
TREND FORECAST: Yesterday, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on several of Myanmar’s military and government officials in retaliation for the military coup and the crackdown on protesters.
While we forecast it will have little impact, the statement by EU’s foreign ministers declared that the sanctions were part of the bloc’s “robust response to the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters.”
We maintain our forecast that military rule will continue in Myanmar, and threats by the U.N., the United States, and other nations will achieve nothing in terms of bringing so-called “democracy” to Myanmar. 
Furthermore, the stronger outside countries pressure the Myanmar government – be they in sanctions or supporting rebel movements – the greater the ruling government will strengthen its ties with its Chinese neighbor.
While the media reports on the current, brutal conditions being imposed on the nation by its military, long forgotten and never mentioned is how the nation was savagely colonized by the British for over 100 years (1824-1948). 

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