Streets in some of Myanmar’s main cities were nearly deserted on Tuesday as opponents of a military rule held “silent strikes”, marking the first anniversary of a coup that sparked deadly chaos and snuffed out tentative steps towards democracy.
The United States, Britain, and Canada imposed new sanctions on the military and joined other countries in calling for a global halt in arms sales to Myanmar, a year after Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government was overthrown.
Since its bloody suppression of protests in the weeks following the coup, the military has faced armed resistance on multiple fronts in the countryside from groups allied with the ousted government.
On Tuesday, an explosion took place during a procession of military supporters in the eastern border town of Tachileik, two witnesses told Reuters. The blast killed two people, said one of the witnesses, and wounded more than 30 others.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing extended a state of emergency imposed at the time of the coup for a further six months, state media announced on Tuesday, amid threats from “internal and external saboteurs” and “terrorist attacks and destruction”.
Activists urged people to stay indoors and businesses to close on Tuesday in a silent show of defiance, despite warnings of arrests, jail, and a seizure of businesses.
“We might be arrested and spend our life in jail if we’re lucky. We might be tortured and killed if we’re unlucky,” said youth activist Nan Lin.
UN marks a year since the Myanmar military coup: