Authorities in Myanmar’s Sagaing and Tanintharyi regions have arrested dozens of people for allegedly joining a nationwide strike to protest the junta, said a report on Radio Free Asia.
The report said protesters gathered in cities across Myanmar on Tuesday as part of the “Six Twos Revolution” strike in a show of resistance amid the junta’s brutal crackdown on critics.
Civilians joined monks in the streets displaying banners with the numbers to signify the continuation of mass strikes and demonstrations a year after a protest on Feb. 22, 2021.
Authorities in Sagaing and Tanintharyi, however, arrested more than 60 people.
A spokesman for the Dawei District Strike Committee said police from Tanintharyi’s Launglone township donned riot gear to raid a shop in Thabyah village, arresting 34 youths celebrating a birthday before releasing 29 of them later Tuesday evening.
The spokesman said the five youths who remain in custody had been wearing black makeup on their faces and black T-shirts, similar to what participants in the Six Twos strike had worn Tuesday.
The 29 released were summoned to the Launglone police station on Wednesday morning and told to sign a pledge that they would refrain from “engaging in politics,” he said.
‘Torture’ in detention
In Sagaing’s Monywa township, where the military has faced strong resistance from anti-junta armed groups, authorities arrested 27 people on Tuesday for allegedly aiding members of the local prodemocracy People’s Defense Force militia.
A resident of Monywa, who declined to be named for security reasons, told RFA that at least some of the 27 were “severely tortured” while in detention.
“According to one person who was released, most of the men were beaten, although the women were spared,” the resident said. “Some of the tortured could even face death.”
Photographs posted on social media, purportedly of the arrests in Monywa, showed a young man with a leg injury and severe facial injuries, although RFA could not independently verify their authenticity.
Attempts by RFA to contact junta Deputy Information Minister Zaw Min Tun about the arrests went unanswered on Wednesday.
Zeyar Lwin, a member of the University Students’ Union Alumni Force, told RFA that the impact of protests such as the Six Twos strike is significant and urged members of the public to remain vigilant while they are underway.
“The military arrests anyone they want whether they take part in protests or not,” he said. “Even people who remain in their own homes are targeted for arrest. These kinds of things will continue to happen for as long as we remain under a military dictatorship.”
As of Wednesday, more than 1,570 people had been killed since the coup and almost 12,300 arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand.