Yangon streets quiet as Myanmar goes on ‘Silent Strike’

A scene from Yangon today circulating on social media.
A scene from Yangon today circulating on social media.

A quiet fell across Yangon and much of Myanmar today as a new campaign kicked in to turn noisy cities into ghost towns, while hundreds of students held over a month were freed.

Businesses, supermarkets to minimarts and restaurants were closed today to support a so-called Silent Strike, while some youth participated by posting photos with their mouths sealed by tape.

The campaign called for no one to leave their homes until 3pm. Drone footage and photos posted to social media around noon showed nearly empty streets in Yangon and other cities.

“Silence is not fear. Young people have the power to unite in a short period of time. It can be quiet during the day or it can be loud during the day. It all depends on us,” said Aung Khant Zaw, a protester in Yangon’s Kamayut Township.

Meanwhile, more than 300 students arrested Feb. 13 by rampaging security forces were transported by bus to the Tamwe Police Station prior to their release at Insein Prison, where many families awaited their children.

Last night, the junta deployed vehicles to drive around Yangon and urge people to leave their homes as usual. The country remains paralyzed by strikes and civil disobedience campaigns enjoying widespread support.

The shift in tactics comes as the security forces show little restraint in killing civilians gathering peacefully to protest the military takeover. Nationwide protests last week were suppressed with fatal uses of force, and martial law was declared in parts of Yangon.

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