A general strike against military rule shut businesses in Myanmar on Monday and huge crowds gathered peacefully despite fears of violence after authorities warned that confrontation could be deadly.
Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop the daily protests and a civil disobedience movement calling for the reversal of the Feb. 1 coup and release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Hundreds of thousands gathered in cities and towns across the country, from the northern hills on the border with China to the central plains, the Irrawaddy river delta and the southern tip of the panhandle, social media images showed.
For protester Kyaw Kyaw in the main city of Yangon, losing pay to join the strike was a small price to pay.
“Nothing’s going to happen if my salary is cut but if we stay under a military dictatorship we’ll be slaves,” he said.
In the capital, Naypyitaw, where the military is headquartered, a police water cannon truck and a fleet of other vehicles closed in to break up a procession of chanting protesters who scattered when police on foot rushed in, wrestling several to the ground.