'Silent strike' marks 3rd anniversary of Myanmar coup

People across Myanmar are holding what they are calling a "silent strike" as the country marks three years since the military took power in a coup in 2021.

Myanmar's pro-democracy groups are urging people to stay home in a show of defiance to the junta.

Streets in the largest city of Yangon were largely empty as the strike began at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Few pedestrians and vehicles were seen, reflecting strong public opposition against the military. The strike comes a day after the military extended a state of emergency for another six months.

It has been in place for 3 years since military leaders staged a coup on February 1st, 2021, claiming the previous year's election was fraudulent.

They ousted and detained Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party had won by a landslide. And they have cracked down on civilian protesters.

A human rights group in Myanmar says almost 4,500 civilians have been killed and nearly 20,000 have been detained.

Meanwhile, Buddhist groups that support the junta held a rally on Thursday in Yangon. It was apparently initiated by the military in an attempt to counter the pro-democracy silent strike.

The junta has promised to hold a general election for a transfer to civilian rule once the country's security situation is stabilized. But the extension of the state of emergency means a new election remains out of reach.