Just three weeks after the February 1 military coup in Myanmar/Burma against the elected National League for Democracy civilian government, a one-day general strike was successfully carried out on February 22.
Despite the military deploying tanks, barricades, tear gas, firing live rounds into crowds and carrying out mass arrests, the country was brought to a standstill. Large demonstrations swept through towns and cities.
The general strike followed weeks of escalating peaceful protests, which were met with increasing violence from the military. These protests have been coordinated by the youth-led Civil Disobedience Movement.
Left groups from the Asia-Pacific region issued the following joint statement on February 23:
Solidarity with the people of Burma against military coup
We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the military coup in Burma. The current coup is a great set back to the little achievement of the transition process towards democracy in Burma for the past decade.
We denounce the use of excessive force against the pro-democracy protesters in Burma that has already caused deaths. We also condemn the arbitrary arrests of elected representatives, pro-democracy activists and people who stood up against the military junta.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Burma in their struggle for democracy.
We call for:
- The Burmese military to immediately reinstate the elected civilian government.
- Immediate release of all political detainees.
- A stop to the brutal repression against pro-democracy protests in Burma.
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to suspend the membership of Burma in ASEAN until a democratically elected government is restored.
- All governments to suspend their diplomatic, military and economic cooperation with Burma until a democratically elected government is restored.
Signed by: Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM); Socialist Workers Thailand; Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Philippines; Working People’s Party (PRP), Indonesia; Sedane Labour Resource Centre, Indonesia; Socialist Alliance, Australia; Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières, France; League of Social Democrats, Hong Kong.
[For a full list of signatories, visit: thinkleft.net.]