Myanmar ‘silent strike’ sees eerily quiet streets as death toll nears 300


Myanmar residents took part in a ‘silent strike’ today (March 24) as the death toll from protests neared 300.

Footage from the former capital Yangon shows the eerily quiet streets as many businesses closed and residents stayed at home to show their opposition to the military coup which toppled widely-liked leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

The protest came the day after a seven-year-old girl was killed in her home when security forces opened fire during a crackdown in Mandalay.

Brutal crackdowns on protests have seen soldiers opening fire on crowds with live ammo and firing indiscriminately into homes – forcing people to duck bullets whizzing past their heads.

The country’s protest-related death toll reached 260 on Tuesday (March 23) but activists fear the number could be higher.

On Monday, security forces opened fire in Chanmyathazi Township throughout the whole day while the next day on Tuesday eight people were killed and more than 30 were injured when the police and soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons in the city.

International pressure on Myanmar, still also known as Burma, has escalated with the U.S. government putting sanctions on the country to strengthen its response to the military coup.

Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began. 

It changed its name to Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi later took over as leader before introducing democratic reforms.