14 Arrested at Protest Over U.K. Policing Bill

LONDON — Fourteen protesters have been arrested in Bristol, in southwestern England, at a rally to denounce a policing bill that would enact restrictions on peaceful demonstrations. The rally, part of a wider movement against the proposed legislation, came after clashes in the city on Sunday that left officers wounded and drew condemnation from officials.

About 200 people attended the protest on Tuesday night, far fewer than the thousands who took part in the demonstrations in Bristol on Sunday, but the gathering was broken up by the authorities, citing coronavirus restrictions.

The police said in a statement that reinforcements had been drafted in after “efforts to encourage people to leave were unsuccessful.”

The police cited breaches of coronavirus rules and the obstruction of a highway as the cause of arrest for the 14 people detained. One of the people arrested on Tuesday had also been held in connection with the violence on Sunday.

over the bill, which would give the police sweeping powers to handle nonviolent demonstrations in England and Wales, among other measures.

Demonstrations have been held across the country to protest the bill after it was thrust into the spotlight in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard. Anger at the tactics used by the police to break up a vigil for Ms. Everard, 33, have fanned calls for the proposed legislation to be scrapped.

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‘I Will Die Protecting My Country’: In Myanmar, a New Resistance Rises

In a jungle in the borderlands of Myanmar, the troops sweated through basic training. They learned how to load a rifle, pull the pin of a hand grenade and assemble a firebomb.

These cadets are not members of Myanmar’s military, which seized power last month and quickly imposed a battlefield brutality on the country’s populace. Instead, they are an eclectic corps of students, activists and ordinary office workers who believe that fighting back is the only way to defeat one of the world’s most ruthless armed forces.

“I see the military as wild animals who can’t think and are brutal with their weapons,” said a woman from Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, who was now in the forest for a week of boot camp. Like others who have joined the armed struggle, she did not want her name published for fear that the Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, would target her.

reign of terror. The Tatmadaw has cracked down on peaceful protesters and unarmed bystanders alike, killing at least 275 people since the coup, according to a monitoring group.

Other forms of resistance have continued in Myanmar. A mass civil disobedience campaign has idled the economy, with a nationwide strike on Wednesday leaving towns devoid of business activity. In creative acts of defiance, protesters have lined up rows of stuffed animals and origami cranes as stand-ins for demonstrators who could get shot.

But there is a growing recognition that such efforts may not be enough, that the Tatmadaw needs to be countered on its own terms. Last week, remnants of the ousted Parliament, who consider themselves the legitimate government, said that a “revolution” was needed to save the country. They have called for the formation of a federal army that respects various ethnic groups, not just the majority Bamar.

“If diplomacy fails, if the killings continue, the people of Myanmar will be forced to defend themselves,” said Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for the ousted Parliament who is on the run after having been charged with high treason.

ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

The country has trembled as the Tatmadaw has brought its war machine to the cities, imprisoning Myanmar’s civilian leaders last month and erasing a decade of political and economic reform.

Since then, dozens of young protesters have been killed by single gunshots to the head. Security forces have fired into homes at random, leaving families cowering in back rooms. On Tuesday, a 7-year-old girl sitting at home in her father’s lap was shot in the city of Mandalay, in what appeared to be a collateral death. (Hundreds of protesters were released on Wednesday after weeks of detention.)

The Tatmadaw is flouting the international rules of war. Security forces have fired at ambulances and tortured detainees. Given the brutality, members of Myanmar’s frontline of democracy say there is no choice but to take up arms.

Most days in the concrete conflict zones of Yangon, Ko Soe Win Naing, a 26-year-old sailor, prepares for war: a GoPro camera affixed to his helmet, a balaclava over his head, vials of tear gas in his vest pockets, a sheathed sword on his back and a gas mask at the ready. His weapon of choice is a firework fashioned into a sort of grenade.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign against the generals who locked her up for 15 years. (The award was tarnished by her defense of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.)

But most struggles in Myanmar have involved guns and slingshots. In the mountainous periphery of the country, ethnic armed groups have been fighting for autonomy for decades. After soldiers gunned down hundreds of protesters in 1988, thousands of students and activists fled into the forests and formed armed groups that fought alongside ethnic insurgencies.

Of late, their tactics have extended to information warfare. On Wednesday, anti-coup protesters said they had launched hacking attacks on two military-linked banks.

For the new generation, the decision to fight is born of a desire to protect what the country has gained over the past decade. Myanmar was once one of the most isolated countries on Earth, as a xenophobic and economically inept junta cleaved the country from the international community. Then came tentative political reforms, an internet link to the world and chances at private-sector jobs.

The notion that Myanmar might return to a frightened past has galvanized some protesters. One young woman, who is about to start military training in the jungle, said she remembered huddling as a child with her family and listening secretly to BBC radio broadcasts, an act that once could have earned imprisonment.

“I decided to risk my life and fight back any possible way I can,” she said. “If we oppose nationwide in unison, we will make the military have sleepless nights and insecure lives, just as they have done to us.”

The security forces, she continued, are following orders and lack a greater purpose.

“We have our political faith, we have our dreams,” she said. “This is the fight in which we have to use our brains and our bodies.”

If any armed rebellion is to succeed, it will need the backing of the ethnic insurgencies that have long been at war with the Tatmadaw. Last week, the Kachin Independence Army, which represents the Kachin of northern Myanmar, launched a surprise strike against the Tatmadaw.

On Thursday, five Tatmadaw soldiers were killed by the Karen National Liberation Army, which fights for the Karen ethnicity. Last year, hundreds of Tatmadaw troops died while battling another ethnic insurgency in western Rakhine State.

“If ethnic armed groups launch offensives, it could help relieve pressure on the protesters in the cities,” said Padoh Saw Hser Bwe, a general secretary of the Karen National Union.

With the Tatmadaw’s most notorious brigades now stationed in the cities, focused on anti-coup protesters rather than ethnic civil war, the military’s killing continues unabated.

On Monday in Mandalay, Ko Tun Tun Aung, 14, wandered out of his home to grab a pot of water. A bullet pierced his chest, killing him instantly, according to his relatives. At least seven others were also shot dead in the same neighborhood that day. Two were rescue workers.

Ko Thet Aung, a 23-year-old frontline defender, is from the same Mandalay neighborhood where the killings occurred. For three weeks, he has been manning barricades and dodging gunfire.

“The more they crack down, the more we are motivated to fight back,” he said. “We are from Generation Z, but I would call ourselves Gen-P — Generation Protection. I will die protecting my country at the front lines.”

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A List of Recent Mass Shootings in the United States

The bleak reality of a list like this is that it leaves out so many more.

There have been dozens of mass shootings in the United States in just the past five years, according to the Violence Project, which maintains a database of attacks in which at least four people were killed.

And before that, many more were seared into memories: San Bernardino, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., in 2015; Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., in 2012; Virginia Tech in 2007, among them.

Each new attack is a reminder of all of the others that came before it, as the nation has been unable to curb an epidemic of gun violence that far outpaces other countries. These are just some of the horrors that have traumatized the nation.

A gunman inside a grocery store killed 10 people, including Eric Talley, the first police officer to arrive at the scene. The gunman was injured and taken into custody.

were killed at three spas, at least two of which had been frequented by the gunman. It was the country’s first mass shooting to command nationwide attention in a year and caused particular alarm among many Asian-Americans.

A shooting spree across five miles left five people dead, including a police officer and the gunman. It ended with a car crash at a gas station and the gunman’s death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

a rampage across the two cities in which eight people, including the gunman, were killed, and 25 others were injured. The gunman hijacked a postal truck and opened fire on residents, motorists and shoppers before he was fatally shot by the police. Three officers and a toddler were among the injured.

Armed with an AR-15-style rifle and body armor, a gunman killed nine people and wounded 27 others in 32 seconds in a bustling entertainment district before he was fatally shot by a police officer. The gunman’s sister was among the first people he shot.

prowled the aisles of a Walmart in El Paso, a majority-Hispanic border city, killing 23 people and wounding about two dozen others. The back-to-back combination of the two attacks left the nation shaken.

An annual garlic festival in an agricultural community south of San Jose turned deadly when a 19-year-old man opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle. The gunman killed three people in the attack, including a 13-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, and wounded more than a dozen others.

attacked the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, killing 12 people.

A gunman entered the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country music bar, and shot a security guard at the entrance with a .45-caliber handgun before opening fire into the crowd, killing 12 people. The gunman was found dead at the scene after being confronted by officers who had stormed the bar.

killing 11 congregants and wounding six others. The gunman shot indiscriminately at worshipers for several minutes.

A man armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades assaulted the newsroom of a community newspaper chain in Annapolis, Md., killing five staff members, injuring two others. The gunman had previously sued journalists at the chain, the Capital Gazette, for defamation and had waged a social media campaign against them.

Armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver hidden under his coat, a 17-year-old student opened fire on his high school campus, Santa Fe High School, killing 10 people, many of them his fellow students, and wounding 10 more, the authorities said. Witnesses said that the gunman first entered an art classroom, said “Surprise!” and started shooting.

a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling on lawmakers to tighten gun laws.

A gunman with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands stormed into a Sunday church service at a small Baptist church in rural Texas and sprayed bullets into its pews. He killed 26 people, including nine members of a single family, and left 20 people wounded, many of them severely. The gunman later shot himself.

deadliest mass shootings in American history, a gunman perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, smashed the windows of his suite with a hammer and shot at a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor country music festival. Fifty-eight people were killed and 887 sustained documented injuries, either from gunfire or while running to safety.

As an airline passenger retrieved his checked luggage, he pulled a 9-millimeter handgun out of his suitcase and used it to kill five people and wound six others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. When he ran out of ammunition, he lay on the floor, waiting to be arrested.

A heavily armed sniper targeted police officers in downtown Dallas, leaving five of them dead. The gunman turned a demonstration against fatal police shootings of Black men in Minnesota and Louisiana from a peaceful march focused on violence committed by officers into a scene of chaos and bloodshed.

killing 50 people and wounding 53 others. After a three-hour standoff following the initial assault, law enforcement officials raided the club and fatally shot the gunman.

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As Europe’s Lockdowns Drag on, Police and Protesters Clash More

LONDON — In Bristol, an English college town where the pubs are usually packed with students, there were fiery clashes between police and protesters. In Kassel, a German city known for its ambitious contemporary art festival, the police unleashed pepper spray and water cannons on anti-lockdown marchers.

A year after European leaders ordered people into their homes to curb a deadly pandemic, thousands are pouring into streets and squares. Often, they are met by batons and shields, raising questions about the tactics and role of police in societies where personal liberties have already given way to public health concerns.

From Spain and Denmark to Austria and Romania, frustrated people are lashing out at the restrictions on their daily lives. With much of Europe facing a third wave of infections that could keep these stifling lockdowns in place weeks or even months longer, analysts warn that tensions on the streets are likely to escalate.

In Britain, where the rapid pace of vaccinations has raised hopes for a faster opening of the economy than the government is willing to countenance, frustration over recent police conduct has swelled into a national debate over the legitimacy of the police — one that carries distant echoes of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

sense of outrage is the case of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who was abducted and killed, allegedly by a police officer, while walking home in London. The Metropolitan Police then roughly broke up a vigil for Ms. Everard on the grounds that the participants were violating coronavirus rules on social distancing.

The potential for more such confrontations is high, Mr. Stott said, citing “the warmer weather, duration of the lockdown and increasing dissatisfaction among sections of the community about the imposition of control measures.”

a crowd pulled down the statue of a 17th century slave trader, Edward Colston, and dumped it into Bristol Harbor.

This time, however, he fears that the images of shattered windows and burned police vehicles will help Prime Minister Boris Johnson pass the police law, which has already cleared two key hurdles in Parliament.

“The consequences of what they’ve done is to increase the likelihood of that bill winning support,” Mr. Rees said.

For many in Britain, that would be a bitter irony, given that the pandemic has already led to the greatest restriction of civil liberties in recent memory. Coronavirus regulations that were expected to last no more than a few months have now been in place for a year, causing tensions between police and the public not just at protests, but also at house parties and even with those meeting outside for coffee.

Early in the pandemic, one local police force used drones to shame a couple walking a dog on a lonely path. The owners of gyms and sports clubs were raided by police when they opened against the regulations.

An earlier version of the government’s coronavirus regulations contained a provision that allowed nonviolent protests. But that was removed from a later version, leaving the right to peaceful assembly in a kind of legal limbo. Under the latest draft of the rules, issued on Monday, protests would be allowed under limited circumstances, starting next Monday.

These emergency laws were rushed through Parliament without the scrutiny normally applied to legislation. Lacking a written constitution, Britons who want to take to the streets have to rely on the less clear-cut protection of a human rights act.

By contrast, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court last year upheld the right of its citizens to protest, provided that they adhered to social distancing rules.

“This pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of our unwritten constitution when it comes to certain rights,” said Adam Wagner, a human rights lawyer and expert on the coronavirus rules. “If you take representative democracy from the process of lawmaking, you miss out on key voices.”

The government makes other arguments for the policing bill. Cabinet ministers note, for example, that the security costs of protecting a new high-speed rail link from environmental protesters has been 50 million pounds, or $69 million.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, condemned the clashes in Bristol has “thuggery and disorder” and said protecting the police was the government’s top priority — though not, she added, of some members of the opposition.

“We have been clear that to save lives and fight this pandemic, people must not currently hold large gatherings,” she said in a statement to Parliament. “Too many this weekend selfishly decided that this did not apply to them.”

Further raising the political temperature, the policing bill is moving through Parliament at the same moment as the government’s renewal of its coronavirus regulations, which also drew fire from the libertarian right.

“The Coronavirus Act contains some of the most draconian detention powers in modern British legal history,” said Mark Harper, who chairs the Covid Recovery Group, a caucus of Conservative lawmakers critical of the lockdown rules.

While many say the debate on the role of the police in Britain is overdue, some sympathize with the plight of the officers. They are caught between politicians and the public, with a nebulous constitutional status and a shifting set of rules to enforce, particularly during a public health emergency.

“It’s not the fault of the police that the coronavirus regulations are in part necessarily draconian and in parts unnecessarily draconian,” said Shami Chakrabarti, an expert in civil liberties and a Labour Party politician.

The bigger problem, she said, is that Britain tends to conduct debates about the role of the police after wrenching episodes like a police shooting, the killing of Ms. Everard or the violent clashes in Bristol. This inflames public opinion in one direction or the other, she says, but can get in the way of a thoughtful debate.

“We almost only ever have this discussion in moments of crisis,” Ms. Chakrabarti said, “not in peacetime.”

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What Are the ‘Kill the Bill’ Protests in Britain All About?

Kill the bill!

That has been the refrain echoing in streets across Britain in recent weeks as protesters demand a rethinking of a sweeping crime bill that would give the police more power to deal with nonviolent demonstrations.

In recent months, a series of issues have galvanized mass protests across Europe: Black Lives Matter demonstrations in cities last summer, protests against security laws across France last fall, and anti-lockdown rallies seemingly everywhere.

How the police should handle these mass demonstrations has become a topic of heated debate, especially as officers have been accused in some cases of over-aggressive responses. Coronavirus restrictions have added another layer to questions about the right balance between the rule of law and protecting civil liberties.

In Britain, that discussion has zeroed in on the new police bill.

The proposed legislation has come under intense criticism in recent weeks in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was murdered in London after walking home from a friend’s house in the evening, and a subsequent vigil to honor her that was broken up by the police.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill is an immense piece of proposed legislation that makes provisions for a broad range of issues in its nearly 300 pages. The bill would introduce harsher penalties for serious crimes, end a policy of early prison release for some offenders and prevent unauthorized encampments, among other sweeping measures.

It also gives broad authority to police forces across the country when it comes to handling protests — and that has proved to be a lightning rod.

Under current law, the police must first determine that a demonstration could result in serious public disorder, property damage or serious disruption to the life of the community before it can impose restrictions.

toppled in Bristol last year during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

The government maintains that the bill provides for better policing and community protection. Priti Patel, the home secretary, said last week that there was “a balance to be struck between the rights of the protester and the rights of individuals to go about their daily lives.”

Opposition lawmakers and rights groups have denounced what they see as a move to give police overly broad, and potentially problematic, powers. Many say they need more time to work through the potential implications.

The Local Government Association, a cross-party organization, said that certain aspects of the bill, particularly those focused on public protests, “warrant further formal consultation.” The group expressed concerns that a rushed timetable to vote on the bill “left little time to scrutinize the bill in sufficient detail.”

The Good Law Project, a British governance watchdog, said in a briefing that the bill “represents a serious threat to the right to protest,” and called for the portions of the legislation that deal with protests to be dropped.

a national outcry over violence against women. Then came the day of the vigil.

Officers were widely criticized for breaking up the March 12 event, deemed illegal because of coronavirus restrictions. Images spread quickly showing the police moving in to halt speeches and arrest a group of women denouncing violence.

An independent investigation has been launched into conduct of the police, and the controversy raised questions about the ban on protests during the pandemic.

More broadly, the police’s heavy-handed response to the vigil catalyzed the movement against the policing bill, shifting the debate to one about police overreach. The vigil took place just days before the crime bill was set to be debated in Parliament.

The problem with the bill, critics say, is not just that it gives officers more power to tamp down demonstrations. The bill makes no specific mention of violence against women — indeed, it includes more language about how to criminalize the defacing a statute than it does about crimes against human being motivated by misogyny.

turned riotous in Bristol, where a small group set fire to police vehicles, smashed shop windows and clashed with officers. At least 20 police officers were injured, two seriously, and seven were arrests made, according to the police.

they argue, fails to address the pervasive misogyny at the heart of crimes committed against women, as well as undermining the right to protest.

As the dispute has heated up, some lawmakers are taking a new look the bill.

The Labour party had originally planned to abstain from voting on the bill, but shifted its position last week to instead vote against it. David Lammy, a Labour lawmaker who is the opposition party’s justice spokesman, called the legislation “a mess.”

“The tragic death of Sarah Everard has instigated a national demand for action to tackle violence against women,” Mr. Lammy said. “This is no time to be rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest.”

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U.K. Police Bill Protesters Turn Violent at Bristol Rally

Violent protests erupted Sunday night in the British city of Bristol over a proposed police and crime bill that would create sweeping new restrictions on protests and grant broad new powers to the police.

Video from the scene showed a police vehicle ablaze and protesters charging at the graffiti-strewn vehicle. One officer suffered a broken arm and another a broken rib, the authorities said.

The “kill the bill” rally drew thousands of protesters in the southwest city, witnesses reported.

said on Twitter. “Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured.”

said in a statement that “those responsible for offenses will be identified and brought to justice,” the force said on Twitter.

policing bill being debated in Parliament would make it easier for the authorities to set limits on demonstrations and punish protesters who refuse to comply with the rules.

Opposition to the measure increased in the wake of a police crackdown on a rally held in London earlier this month to protest violence against women.

The police drew widespread criticism for their handling of a vigil to mark the killing of a 33-year-old woman. The vigil in South London was for Sarah Everard, whose killing touched off a national outcry over misogyny. Officers from the Metropolitan Police, the main London force, clashed with some of the attendees.

Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, said Sunday that he recognized “the frustrations” with the policing bill, the BBC reported, but that “smashing buildings in our city center, vandalizing vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the bill going through.”

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Hong Kong, Its Elections Upended, Reconsiders Its Dream of Democracy

HONG KONG — From her first protest at age 12, Jackie Chen believed she could help bring democracy to Hong Kong. Each summer, she marched in demonstrations calling for universal suffrage. She eagerly cast her ballot in elections.

Now Ms. Chen, 44, is not sure if she will ever vote again.

“If we continue to participate in this game, it’s like we’re accepting what they’re doing,” she said. “That would make me feel like an accomplice.”

The Chinese government has upended the political landscape in Hong Kong, redefining the city’s relationship with democracy. Its plan to drastically overhaul the local electoral system, by demanding absolute loyalty from candidates running for office, is leaving factions across the political spectrum wondering what participation, if any, is still possible.

enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which pledges that universal suffrage is the “ultimate aim.”

Beijing has now made clear that it has no plans to meet that aim — at least, not on the terms that many Hong Kongers expected. The changes are also likely to slash the number of directly elected seats in the local legislature to their lowest levels since the British colonial era, meaning the majority of lawmakers would be picked by government allies.

Though officials still nod to universal suffrage, theirs is a circumscribed version. A Chinese official in Hong Kong suggested last week that establishment lawmakers chosen through small-circle elections, of the type favored by Beijing, were equivalent to those elected by the general public.

“The establishment camp is also pro-democracy,” the official, Song Ru’an, told reporters. “They’re all chosen through elections, and they all work on behalf of the people.”

repeatedly delayed.)

Screening candidates would ensure that future politicians were more moderate, Mr. Choi said. “Right now we have people who want to mess things up,” he said, standing under a giant Chinese flag that his group had erected on a sidewalk in North Point, a working-class neighborhood where support for the government runs high.

“There will be a new pro-democracy wing that comes out, and they probably will actually want to act in the interests of the people,” Mr. Choi said.

Hong Kong’s electoral system has always been skewed in favor of the establishment, but many residents had still hoped their votes could send a message.

arrested 53 people in January for participating in an informal primary ahead of those elections. The elections themselves were postponed for a year, and officials say they may be delayed again.

Ms. Chen, the democracy supporter who is unsure about voting again, said the electoral changes were more disheartening than the national security law.

“Voting isn’t organizing anything or trying to subvert the government,” she said. “It’s just each person voting to express their individual views. If we don’t even have this basic right, then I just don’t know what to say.”

Beijing has said the changes are meant to block candidates it deems anti-China, or who have openly called for independence for Hong Kong. But moderates also worry that they will be shut out of the new system.

Hong Kong’s politicians have long described their role as juggling the demands of two masters who are often at odds: Communist Party leaders in Beijing, and the people of Hong Kong. But Beijing has increasingly insisted that its will come first, a mandate crystallized in the new election rules, which allow only “patriots” to hold office.

mass movement for universal suffrage in 2014, many supporters worried that dreams of democracy were dead. But when those demands resurfaced in 2019, the crowds ballooned.

Faith in that resilience has shaped the life of Owen Au, who was in high school in 2014. Invigorated by those protests, he enrolled at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to study politics. He was elected president of the student union. He dreamed of running for higher office.

He knows that is impossible now. He is facing charges of unauthorized assembly related to the 2019 protests, and he said he would never qualify under the candidate-vetting system anyway.

But far from pushing him out of the political arena, Mr. Au said, the crackdown will guarantee that he stays in it. He expects that no major company will hire him. Besides activism, he doesn’t know what else he could do.

“I have no choice but to keep working on it,” he said. “But it’s not a bad thing. Most of the other paths, I’m not so interested in. But this one could ignite my hope.”

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Myanmar Protesters Answer Military’s Bullets With an Economic Shutdown

Bank tellers’ windows are gathering dust. Cargo at the port sits uncollected. And in grand government ministries in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, stacks of documents are curling in the humidity. There are few people to process all the paperwork.

Since the military seized power in a coup last month, an entire nation has come to a standstill. From hospitals, railways and dockyards to schools, shops and trading houses, much of society has stopped showing up for work in an attempt to stymie the military regime and force it to return authority to a civilian government.

While demonstrators continue to brave bullets — at least 220 people have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup, according to a local group that monitors political imprisonments and deaths — the quiet persistence of this mass civil disobedience movement has grown into a potent weapon against the military. For all the planning that went into the putsch, the generals seem to have been utterly unprepared for the breadth and depth of resistance against them.

“They robbed the power of the people from our elected government,” said Daw Cho Cho Naing, a clerk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has refused to work along with most of her colleagues. “Our country’s democracy journey has just started, and we can’t lose it again.”

The effect of millions of people refusing to do their jobs has been dramatic, even if the military is built to withstand pressure. Up to 90 percent of national government activity has ceased, according to officials from four ministries. Factories are idled. In February, the national business registry recorded fewer than 190 new registrations, compared with nearly 1,300 the year before.

In a country where at least a third of the population was already living below the poverty line, civil disobedience is bringing tremendous self-imposed hardship to the people. But the striking class hopes that just a few more weeks or months of financial coercion will starve the military of the work force and resources it needs to run the country.

On Sunday, dozens were killed in factory districts in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, when security forces cracked down on striking protesters with lethal force. The area is now under martial law, but many workers have vowed not to give up.

“We might be poor in terms of money, but we are rich with the value of loving our country,” said Ma Thuzar Lwin, whose husband, Ko Chan Thar, a construction worker, was shot in the neck during a recent attack.

Early this week, as her husband struggled for his life, Ms. Thuzar Lwin voiced her aspirations for him. “I want him to see with his own eyes the day the junta steps down,” she said.

Mr. Chan Thar died on Wednesday.

The Myanmar military, which has ruled the country for most of the past 60 years, is adept at killing. It is less practiced in running an economy that began integrating into the global financial system during a decade of reform.

In raids following the coup, soldiers rounded up hundreds of officials considered faithful to the civilian government led by the National League for Democracy party. An Australian economic adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation’s de facto civilian leader, was also locked up. More than 200 employees of the central bank, including five deputy directors, have been fired for their civil disobedience.

As a result, taxes aren’t being collected in Myanmar. The bulk of licenses for imports, exports and much else are no longer being granted. With employees of private banks joining the strike, most money flows in and out of the country have stopped. Many companies have been unable to pay employees. Military banks have limited withdrawals for fear of runs on cash.

Last week, the military ordered private banks to transfer funds deposited by agricultural traders to state or military banks so the money could be withdrawn for the upcoming harvest. The order has gone unheeded.

“They are the king now, but we are not their servants,” said Daw Phyu Phyu Cho, a loan officer for a private bank who has joined the strike. “If we all unite, they can’t do anything.”

Myanmar is now short of many things at once: gasoline for cars, imported grains and legumes, foreign toothpaste. In the Yangon area, retail prices for palm oil have increased 20 percent since the coup, according to the World Food Program.

People have gotten used to long lines, for A.T.M. withdrawals, for pension collection, for handouts of rice and curry. Striking factory workers are having to choose between clamping on hard hats and goggles to join a protest or waiting in the hot sun for whatever basic necessity might be on offer that day.

For now, informal financing networks are helping to ease some of the pain of lost wages. In Mandalay, the second-largest city in Myanmar, a single Facebook group run by ordinary citizens has raised funds to support nearly 5,000 people who are participating in the civil disobedience movement, which is known by the abbreviation C.D.M.

“Myanmar people are so generous in their donations to people in need,” said U Aung Htay Myint, one of the organizers of the Mandalay effort.

Myanmar’s economy, one of the least developed in Asia after decades of military mismanagement, was already reeling from the coronavirus, which hit the garment and tourism industries particularly hard. With the coup, foreign investors are feeling skittish. Toyota has delayed plans for a factory opening. The World Bank has paused disbursements in the country.

Sanctions by Western governments on military officers and companies have piled up. Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department banned American dealings with, among other businesses, a gym and a restaurant owned by the children of Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the military chief who led the coup. The United States government has frozen about $1 billion in assets held by Myanmar in an American financial institution.

But the military still has plenty of income streams, most notably the country’s oil and gas fields. U Ye Kyaw Thu worked as an offshore platform technician for the Shwe gas project for a decade. Most of his colleagues are foreigners, and he knows that other Myanmar workers will be brought in to replace him. Still, Mr. Ye Kyaw Thu said participating in the strike was the right choice for him

“It’s all I can do,” he said.

A group of legislators that says it represents the ousted Parliament has written to foreign oil and gas companies requesting that they cease payments to the regime lest it “sustain the current military junta’s violent rule and enrich its leaders.”

But extraction of Shwe natural gas, which is sent to China, hasn’t decreased since the coup. Such oil and gas earnings add up to $90 million a month to the regime’s coffers, according to estimates from the disbanded Parliament.

Beyond oil and gas, the military and its vast business holdings profit from the illegal collection of natural resources, such as jade and timber, which brings in income rivaling the country’s official revenues.

“So many of their funds come from black markets,” said Dr. Sasa, a special envoy to the United Nations for the ousted civilian authority.

The civil disobedience movement won’t halt such illicit activity. In some cases, as with the production of methamphetamine and other drugs, production may boom in the shadowy spaces of political conflict.

In the meantime, Myanmar’s citizens are paying the greatest price. A township administrator in Shan State, who asked not to have his name published because of the danger of speaking out, described how he was hauled in for interrogation after participating in the civil servant strike. After escaping through the jungle, he is now in hiding.

In Yangon, Ko Soe Naing, a garment factory worker, said he recently watched as a fellow striking worker was shot in the head and killed. Mr. Soe Naing earned about $115 per month for his job, barely a living wage.

“We have nothing to lose,” he said. “As a basic laborer, we only have one choice. It’s to fight back against the junta.”

Last week, before dawn, soldiers descended on a housing complex for railway staff in Yangon. According to eyewitnesses, the soldiers demanded that strikers who had shut down the country’s rail system leave their homes immediately. All 700 or so residents left, grabbing armfuls of possessions at gunpoint.

U Ko Ko Zaw, one of the residents, scrambled out of his house with all that he owned: a suitcase of personal effects, a jug of cooking oil and a live chicken. Later that day, he sold the bird for money.

“It’s OK to die of hunger under military rule, it’s OK if they fire me,” Mr. Ko Ko Zaw said. “I will keep joining the C.D.M. because I believe it can bring down their economy.”

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In Russia, a Virus Lockdown Targets the Opposition

MOSCOW — A Russian court has confined some of the country’s most prominent opposition figures to house arrest on accusations that they violated coronavirus safety rules, in what appears to be a government effort to use the restrictions to muzzle its opponents.

The legal action, known as a “sanitary case,” targets 10 opposition politicians and dissidents, including the senior leadership of Aleksei A. Navalny’s organization and members of the protest group Pussy Riot. All are accused of inciting others to violate rules introduced last spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Their lawyers have denied that they did.

Prosecutors say their social media posts promoting a protest in Moscow in January resulted in attendance by 19 people who were legally required to self-isolate because of positive Covid-19 tests, thus putting at risk others who attended.

Defense lawyers say the authorities are cynically twisting coronavirus rules to isolate people who pose no infection risk but are seen by the government as posing a political one.

coronavirus restrictions have infringed on their freedoms as a byproduct of safety measures. But the Russian opposition members argue that the government is using the restrictions against them with the specific aim of curbing their liberty.

Online posts from the opposition figures promoting the protest did not specifically encourage people who were sick to attend, as the government charged, defense lawyers say. Lockdowns in Moscow had in any case been mostly lifted months earlier.

Also, the defense lawyers say, the rules are selectively enforced to restrict opposition activity while allowing pro-government events to go ahead with few restrictions, though the virus would spread as readily at either type of gathering.

Organizers of a series of pro-government rallies in January, at which employees gathered at their workplaces or in stadiums to cheer for President Vladimir V. Putin, faced no repercussions.

lifted restrictions on mass gatherings to celebrate the anniversary of the takeover, an event that is politically beneficial to the Kremlin.

Aa few days earlier, the police rounded up about 200 opposition members of City Councils who had gathered for a conference in Moscow on Saturday, citing violations of mask rules.

The “sanitary case” is the highest-profile action so far. Among those charged are Mr. Navalny’s brother, a spokeswoman for his movement, and a political ally who intends to run for Parliament this year.

Most are forbidden to leave their homes even for walks, recalling the strictest lockdowns of the early phase of the virus response in Russia and some other countries, although restrictions have been mostly lifted for most Russian people.

On Thursday, a Moscow court extended house arrest for four of the defendants until June, and lawyers expect similar rulings for the rest of the group at a hearing on Friday.

Paradoxically, the opposition in Russia had tried to gain traction politically with criticism of Mr. Putin for not imposing stricter measures to control the virus and provide protective gear to medial workers.

That left them vulnerable to just such a crackdown, some observers noted.

“It’s that uncomfortable feeling when you yourself demanded lockdowns,” Aleksandr Kynev, a political commentator, wrote on Facebook. “Sanitary repression will sober you up.”

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